Church


Short of regular “church” attendance, how do you go about teaching spiritual matters to your children? (eg: existence/non-existence of God(s), prayer, meditation, why is there evil?, you know, easy questions) At what age did you start? I am less interested in the outward manifestations of “religion” than the inner processes. Thanks! (Oh, and of course, keep it civil please. Now, go!)

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So I finally took DS and DD to church for the first time ever this morning. DH stayed home because he had a lot of work, but he’ll join us next week. He’s kind to do it (despite his atheism). I think he is lured by the promise of free donuts and bagels this place offers. (My mom told me how someone she knows eventually became a Christian after he went week after week to a Chinese church solely for their beef chow mein. Hey, the Lord can work with whatever.)

I bit the bullet because I really want my children to grow up in church and learn about God and Jesus and have the chance to decide later whether or not this is something they want to pursue. However, for a long while, I was searching for the “perfect church” in terms of what I personally think/want a church to have. (eg: racial/economic/age diversity, a love for the poor/downtrodden, women in leadership, more inductive type of teaching, etc.) I would spend long hours researching churches via their websites only to find something or other wrong with them and then, ultimately, dismissing them without attending a single service.

After DS was born, I was worried about leaving him alone with essentially strangers (to him and me!) and I regretted not having a church family before I had kids so I could know and trust the people taking care of my baby. Then, I worried that if I went to an English speaking church, that was just one more avenue that my kids would slowly lose their Chinese. 😦 But I am not a huge fan of Chinese churches because of my experiences growing up in one. *sigh* You see where this is going, of course. If I really wanted to attend a church, I would have. I am a natural joiner. I clearly did not want to join.

Welp, today, I bit the bullet. One of my friends from the Mandarin Mommies group attends this huge mega-church about twenty minutes away from our house and I asked to go with. Their daughter, V, is nine months older than DS and they would be in the same preschool Sunday School class for about three more weeks until she turned three. I figured since I have never left DS with anyone he did not know (let alone at a huge mega-church), it would be good for him to have a buddy that he knew very well. I worried all night about DS, but I wanted to make sure we could take advantage of the few weeks left before V turned three.

On our way to church, I explained to him that Mommy was going to drop him off to have fun and then pick him up later and that his good friend, V, would also be there to play with him. I had no idea if he understood any of that. After all, he is two! Anyhow, we walk into this gigantic church (the insides which reminded me of a convention center), DS holding tightly to my hand and staring at everything. I had DD in the Ergo Baby carrier and we waited in line to check in for the children’s section.

OMG. They are huge. The church had a checking in system with touch-screens and they registered my kiddos and I. Then they printed out stickers and stuck them on DS and told me that when I picked him up, I had to show the teacher my matching sticker before they would release DS to me. (Which, when you think about the thousands of people that attend each service, is a good thing!) I felt immediately better about something that never even occurred to me to worry about.

Anyhow, we arrive at the classroom door and DS looks like he’s about to cry. He knows that Mommy is going to leave him there. I’m glad we got their early and I told DS that Mommy was going to go in with him and stay with him until V got there to play with him. He was a little worried and anxious, but we went into the room and when he saw me sit down on the floor, he felt a little better. Then, one of the nice preschool ladies showed DS a bunch of cars and trucks. That was all it took. My child is easily bribed. He warmed up immediately and began to play. When V showed up, he ran up to her to say hi and chat. I then told DS that Mommy had to leave. DS asked me if I was going to feed DD milk. I said, “Yes.” DS then waved to me and said, “Buh-bye.”

That was it. No tears. I kissed him on the forehead and left the room with my friends. He didn’t even notice.

Clearly, my kid is awesome and very easy-going. I am grateful. (Although, part of me is a little miffed. You know, the secret little part of you that wants your kid to love you beyond everything else even if it creates problems for you in the future. Yeah, I know. It’s stupid.) He had a great time and when I picked him up an hour and a half later, he was still in high spirits. We even took home a cute little “drawing” he’d done.

I have a feeling I don’t have to worry about preschool when he turns (or is close to) three. He’s going to be fine (like I knew he would be but still worried anyway since I had never left him with strangers). I’m going to be a mess. Maybe.

At any rate, I will likely continue going here because I am good friends with someone who attends here. The teaching doesn’t sound blasphemous and although large, the church seems like a place with good people. Well, everyone always seems nice until you get to know them, I suppose. 😉 (Myself included!!)

Now that I have kids, I look for a lot different things than I did when I was single/unencumbered. I could go to any service I wished. Attend (even if it was far) just for the preaching or a pastor in particular. Or just go because all my friends attended. Last night and this morning, I texted my friend a billion questions about how they brought their infant daughter into the service (their DD2 is three days older than our DD), to where they sat. (This church has dedicated family and nursing rooms. This place is awesome.) As long as the teaching isn’t blasphemous or truly abysmal, I think I’m staying.

In the end, there is no perfect church, right? Just a place you set down roots, intentionally get to know people and start serving (although, I may put that off for awhile). After all, God gave me a brain and opinions and it is my job to pass those along to my kids – whether they like it or not. 😉