Monday, February 11, 2008

Raising a Pastor's Kid

[Amelia told me to post this story...]

Recently, after seeing the need in the pre-school Sunday School at church, I threw my hat in the ring and offered to help. What they seemed to need more than anything was for someone to play guitar and lead a singing worship time for them during the Sunday School hour. So, guess what I do now? I play the guitar and sing songs with the kids during the Sunday School hour!

It's actually a really cool set up because the church has this mini-chapel in the upstairs with a little cloister wall making a little narthex/nave setup. There's even a little altar with candles, an offering plate, a podium for singing, preaching, or reading the word, a mini-cross for a processional, little pews and even little kneeling pads. Very cool. Anyway, the kids come up. They file in somewhat quietly. Then, one of the kids gets to be the crucifer and all the kids stand and watch as they bring the cross down front, then I lead some singing, and the lady I partner with she reads the Scriptures and takes prayer requests (a preschool version of "prayers for the people") and then there is a recessional where I lead a final song. Oh, yah, I always bless them before they go, too.

Anyway, Ewan and Isaac are in there together. Boy, is that interesting! Watching your kids be themselves when its not just you and them. But, it's not a totally unaffected situation. They know I'm there and that changes their behavior, too. Isaac is a wiggle-worm and can't sit still in his seat. He actually acts more distracted and moody than if I wasn't there. And even though at home he's our "dancing pro" and "singing man," at church, he's silent. At first, Ewan was barely affected. He came in with his ever-present "friends" and was just excited by the whole thing. He always has prayer requests and always wants to do everything - he wants to be the crucifer and take the offering, etc.

But last week, Ewan was acting different. He got to come with me early and set-up rather than going to his class and then coming up with them. (Mommy and Isaac and Graham were all sick at home, so we were just going up and doing Daddy's thing and then coming home.) He didn't want to go to his class and when they all came in he stayed in the "narthex" and watched through the cloister wall as everyone else sang. He was basically sulking even though I knew deep-down he wanted to participate.

Afterward, I sat down with him.
"Ewan, why didn't you want to go to your class?"
"I just don't want to."
"Ewan, how come you didn't come and sing and sit with your friends?"
"I don't know."
Internally, I was praying and trying to feel what he might be feeling. (He and I are pretty similar emotionally so this isn't that hard a task.) After a moment of looking at him and praying, I felt an insight...
"Ewan, do you not like it when Daddy leads the singing because you don't like to share Daddy with the other kids?"
"Uh-huh." (True acknowledgment.)
"Hmm...I can understand that. You know, Daddy used to have to do that when I was a boy." [He always likes, "When I was a boy" examples.] "Pa-pa used to have to lead meetings at church and I didn't like it sometimes because I wanted it to be the same as when we were together just the two of us and I didn't like it being different."
Silence, but listening.
"You know buddy, I know it's hard to share Daddy with others, but this is what God has asked us to do as a family and I think you'll get to see that there are parts about it that are pretty cool. But most importantly, I want you to know that every time Daddy is up front, YOU are still my very special son. No one else gets to be my son...JUST YOU. Okay?"
(Still a little unsure) "Okay."
"Come on, let's go home. Do you want to push the special button to turn out the lights? Ooo, and let's ride the elevator!"
(A little more excited) "Yah!"
(One of the perks of being a PK: You get to play with the stuff in the church after everyone leaves!)
Lord, I know it would be easier for me not to serve and for my boys to get to relate to me in just one mode instead of two, but help us, Lord. Help me to always communicate to them that though they are "in the crowd" that they are never just "part of the crowd." Amen.


Tina said...

And the cycle circles! :) All is well.

Anonymous said...

I think you both do a great job of loving your boys. :-) Hug that little (but getting so big) Ewan for us. -monica