Well, they did take over is really the truth. Given that I had some time and was in a particularly … thoughtful… place I wrote ahead of myself thus I now find my entry to be a week (or so) late. Alas, forgiveness is a grand thing, right? Now to the main topic of this blog…
Once a quarter the youth of the church are put in charge of running a Sunday service (with a little help from the sidelines – i.e. Jan Stack and John Riley. I have had the honor to participate, as a congregant, in two of these events, while my child(ren) participated much more actively. And every one of these Sunday’s reminds me how much our kids have to offer us as adults. The kids that stand up and read, act out a small skit, or quote from the bible are growing with our help and the blessings of their church family. In that I too am growing. Bottom line… This is a MUST see! The kids are amazing. And I feel we are very blessed to share in this experience. Kids Take Over:
I don’t know if I even remotely follow the “normal” standards of today’s parenting. Maybe I don’t follow any standards. I’ve been told a great many times that I seem to color outside the lines (here I can set examples of how at least two of my children mimic this “disorder” of mine), but I have come to understand that does not mean I am doing things “wrong”. I say this as I delve into what Sam read at this youth service. His scripture for the day was Exodus 20:1-17. And as he was practicing on the drive to the church I found myself engaging him in conversation (with the younger two listening) about what he was reading.
“If you love God, obey these commands,” self explanatory.
“Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery: you shall have no other gods before Me,” still understandable.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain,” Sam then asks what the word “vain” meant, and shockingly my eight year old was able to answer quite accurately. Next!
“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day,” Um… well, we try. “Six days you may labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. In six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Sam is in the clear thus far.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you,” Sam hesitated as I gave him the typical parental “cough cough cough”.
“You shall not murder,” again, self explanatory.
“You shall not commit adultery,” and we stop. Here is where explaining adultery to a 12, 8, and 3 year old could be a bit challenging but I likened it to a much more subdued variation. My example to Sam was to say, first, that adultery would be his Dad or me getting into a loving and romantic relationship with another person – holding hands, kissing, that type of thing. It’s basically not being committed and faithful in a relationship that you have chosen to participate. Thankfully he understood as did my eight year old. Moving on…
“You shall not steal.”
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” and the next question came up. “What does it mean to bear false witness?” I explained that it is to lie about your neighbor, to tell others that a person did something they really didn’t do, and in that causing hurt/harm to someone. I explained that this spans further than just the neighbor next door, but a neighbor can be a fellow church goer, classmate or family at school, or anywhere that you interact with other people they too can be considered a neighbor and thus rumors, gossip, lies should never be shared. False means lie. Witness means you (yourself) heard or saw what happened. To keep honor and to have people trust you God commands that you do not tell lies or share words that you truly did not experience yourself.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Sam asked, “What does covet mean?” (Trust me we don’t live that far from the church so to get through this we only had 15 minutes!) Okay, to covet put into laymen’s terms would be to want what your neighbor has to the point of jealousy or trying to take from them. An example I used was that we have some neighbors who mocked us for everything we’ve done – we put up a fence, and they made comments about blocking out the rest of the community and then they went and put up a fence a little bigger than ours; we put in a play structure and they made negative comments and then they bought one a little bigger; etc. Coveting is a bit more challenging to explain than adultery even, but I tried to teach the boys that it is okay to see someone else do something, like the idea and copy it to a style that suites your situation, but to do it not because it makes sense but to compete against the other person out of jealousy because you so want what they have would be wrong. “Does that make sense?” I ask the boys. And they both agreed they understood. We shall see as time progresses.
And that lead us on to the next youth to speak…