With a little help from our friends…

My son just turned nine. Since he is getting older and didn’t seem all that interested in VBS last year, I hadn’t signed him up. But he surprised me the other week by asking when VBS would start. When I asked him about it, he enthusiastically said “Yes!” – that he wanted to be signed up. He was like Michelle Anthony’s son in Chapter 5, when he said, “My friends are waiting for me.”
As the world tries to change our identities, our faith community is there for us, to help keep us on the right track. I have experienced this community in the Sunday School classes that Noah has been in at HUMC. He enjoys being with the other children his age – they understand the struggles he’s going through, and he can be himself there. It is a safe place for him. There also, the teachers care for him, pray with him, and share God’s love with him. They help teach him God’s story and give him a sense of belonging.
As the author mentions, there is a very short window of opportunity to help our children form their identities in Christ. And part of seizing this brief moment is making time to be in a faith community a priority.  I know from my own experience that sometimes we just don’t feel like making the effort. However, the feeling of completeness and acceptance that I have after spending time in worship or a ONE group is worth it. And my son feels the same too – there is a smile on his face and/or a lightness to his step. Anyone who has seen him running through the halls after Sunday school can attest to this!
Our children, even at a very early age, will begin to show the wear and tear from the harsh realities of our world. They will be bruised and hurt from harsh words from parents and peers and from their own poor choices. And we will want to remove them from these situations altogether, to shield them. But by placing our children in a faith community and by helping them build up their identities at home, we show them how to be IN the world and not OF the world.
So I take to heart and look for opportunities in our lives to answer the author’s question, “How will I intentionally and strategically set up an environment where my child[ren] will be a vital part of a faith community?”
In Christ’s Service,
Kara Grosh

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