I think often of all the things we do poorly or even wrong as parents. We want our little boy to experience life safely and well . . . and with joy, when possible. We make a few good decisions, probably more bad ones, and way too many non-decisions (which is probably worse than bad decisions).
Anyway, our current congregation has the habit of singing a song while the children drop dollar bills in an offering jar, up near the place where the leaders stand. I call this activity the “dollar drop.” A weekly event, it never fails to make a large number of people smile, including the children.
The first Sunday, of course, we didn’t know what was going on. We had a decision to make. You see, the situation can get out of hand with just the right mixture of chilluns and adults, so we felt we should set a limit. We wanted our son to experience this whole thing, mostly for him but also for the life of the church . . . but we didn’t want him to run around excessively, drawing too much attention.
So we came up with a rule — a practice for our son. Each Sunday, he takes one dollar from us and puts it in the jar, then he is allowed to take one more dollar from one of the adults who are, fern-like, smiliningly dangling dollars all around the hall. After he’s done, with a lot of energy and a big smile himself, our nearly-five-year-old returns to his seat. He knows his rule and has even told others about it. He seems comfortable with it.
Sometimes I wonder if we have stolen some of Jedd’s joy. In other words, if he could run around and grab four or five more dollars, would he learn more of the joy of giving?
For now, I think it is fine the way it is. We’re not ones who believe children should get too much focus when in groups of adults. This is plenty, and I think it is going fine. A few adults may think we are too hard on him, but that is okay with me. (At least, it is better than the other way around.) We know Jedd better than they do, and He seems both obedient and happy. I should be so obedient and happy!
We’re comfortable with the effect of the way he, as a member of our family, does the dollar drop. But, believe me, we don’t always make parenting decisions that turn out this seemingly well. Good thing we’re blessed with a child who doesn’t require a lot of correction. He is not particularly strong-willed, so we don’t have battles of will. He likes pleasing others and being affectionate and hanging out and helping. He also thinks of others fairly often.
Hey, isn’t this backwards? He’s more of a good example for me than the other way around!