Over the past month and half we have visited 6 different churches. Ian and I LOVE that because itâ€™s like doing a little field research in our own language. On 5 of those visits our kids have been with us. One of the most stressful parts is leaving them crying at the door. Weâ€™ve tried to convince, bribe and have mainly had to drop and go which sometimes can just be…..hard. God has wired each of them differently and itâ€™s simply impossible for one church to accommodate each of them well.
When we went to a small Bible Church in Chicago with a host family, Asher was drawn to the toys and loved the fact that he was the only baby so he did not shed a tear when we left. Our home church is Ellisonâ€™s favorite because she is connected to her small group and her leaders and nothing else is the same for her. If we are not going to our church we have to give her plenty of warning and allow her time to…….process. Â Our Jude, however has had a hard time almost everywhere weâ€™ve been and it is heartbreaking. Last Sunday when we went to our own church he totally melted down like a 2 year old and it was beyond stressful for this perfectionist mama.
This past Sunday after another teary drop off for him we really wanted to get to the heart of his issues with going to childrenâ€™s church. After church and before brunch with some friends we found a quiet moment to actually ask him why it was so bad for him to go in. He said â€œbecause I miss my Ellison, my Asher, my mommy and my daddy.â€ Umâ€¦my heart was so full. Jude is our second born and for as long as heâ€™s been around thereâ€™s been Ellison assuring him that things are ok.
As I think back over our last few churches there is one other church that he went into without complaining and it makes total sense in light of his comment. It was a small church and basically all of the kids other than babies were together. He and Ellison really loved that a lot. The whole time they got to be with one another Â and he felt safe and secure.
This coming Sunday we will again be in another church which just comes with the territory these days. Â As weâ€™re thinking about how to help him, weâ€™ve thought about having some wallet sized pictures printed of our family to remind him that we love him and that weâ€™ll be back soon to get him.
Have you guys out there with kids tried anything to help kids go into their areas at church? If you have some tips Iâ€™d love to hear them.
One Reply to “The Children’s Church Dilemna”
This is something that we are struggling with while being back in the US on home assignment. In Austria, our kids were used to being together in the same room during church services; and here, there are lots of kids in lots of rooms! Our youngest will go and play with any kids; whereas our oldest wants the security of his younger brother being with him. I have been praying with our oldest as he goes into a group, and just encouraging him. Okay, I admit that I’ve bribed him, too. If he went to his Awana group by himself, he got a special treat (he chose a donut). I like your idea of the small pictures, though! 🙂