Posts Tagged ‘children’


Personal Culture Wars

October 8, 2014

Lil’ man just started kindergarten. He spent almost three years going to a Montessori preschool. He loved it. We loved it. The school and staff were great. He made friends. We made friends with parents. Most days he loved going to school. We recently moved and were unable to find a Montessori school around us. The closest one was more than forty-five minutes away. The local public school has a good rating. Parents seem to love it. So with great hesitation and reluctance we chose to enroll him in the public kindergarten. And his teacher is great. He still seems to enjoy school. He definitely seems to be learning a lot. The teacher is pretty good about keeping parents informed about what is going on at school. But something has changed. Something I don’t know how to deal with. Something that probably has more to do with where we have moved than the public school environment. Kids are making comments that lil’ man takes to heart and now we are faced with fighting against a tidal wave of opinions we are not okay with.

When we paint our nails lil’ man likes to get his painted. Almost always orange, his favorite color. He had his nails painted at school and another kid told him only girls paint their nails. We’ve faced this before. In our old state. And he responded “my uncle paints his nails, and he’s not a girl”. Which is true, and was enough. This time his teacher told us his response was “I’m not a girl, I’m a grown-ass man” (which is something we tell him regularly). But now he won’t paint his nails because he doesn’t want the kids to think he’s a girl.

On the walk to school one day he saw a little girl riding a blue bike. He asked me why the girl was riding a boy colored bike. I was floored. We have always taught there are no such things as boy colors and girl colors. We talked about it again. Where is he learning this?

This morning I pulled out a shirt he hasn’t worn for several weeks. A shirt he had picked out and loved over the summer. He didn’t want to wear it. When I asked him why he answered “what if the kids don’t want to be my friend anymore?” We talked with him and ended saying “If someone doesn’t want to be your friend because of the shirt you are wearing then you don’t want to be friends with them”.

It’s frustrating. It’s heart-breaking. He is such a sensitive soul. He takes everything personally. He is legitimately hurt by things that most people shrug off. How can we help him stay true to himself amidst such things? How do I teach him to let these things roll off his shoulders without making him callous and causing him to lose such a vital part of who he is? How do I help ensure he doesn’t turn into one of those kids causing hurt to another? I feel so inadequate, so limited, so unable to help him be himself in a world that is determined to make him think a certain way and act a certain way. I don’t want to see his spirit damaged by others and at the same time I can’t bear the thought of seeing his spirit damaged by compromising who he is to fit in with the world.


Children’s Music

February 19, 2009

My mom has the job of leading the Sunday morning children’s program at their church. I was talking to her about the songs they use, she has to listen to CD’s and write down the lyrics because they aren’t printed anywhere, and she was looking for chords but couldn’t find them. So, trying to be helpful I offered to try and help. What I learned was that songs have changed a great deal. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a surprise to me, but what I did find interesting was the children’s church songs have taken a similar to path to some of the more popular hymns- instead of just singing new songs they have “updated” the old ones by taking the same basic melody and lyrics and making slight changes to make it more “modern” or something. I’m not sure why this bothers me, but it does. I don’t think the old songs are any better or worse than the new songs, but I really want to know why we have to change something to make it more appealing, especially for kids. I mean, aren’t we just encouraging this expectation that everything be adapted for them? Does a 5 year old really care if he sings Jesus Loves Me the old way or the new?  Do we really need to be more “culturally relevant” for  kids this young? And if so, why on earth is culture seeping in that deeply at that young of an age? Or do we do it for the parents of the kids so they feel like their kid is having a good experience? And if it’s so important to have this new style of music, why do we still keep the old songs with theologically flimsy lyrics? Why not just create totally new songs with solid theology?


Unconventional Jesus

July 15, 2008

I think there is a fairly sizeable movement in the church and Christian society today to de-glamorize Jesus. There is a vocal group who want people to really understand and see how unconventional and gritty this man really was. And I think I have heard this so many times I became more or less immune to it all. If you were to ask me to describe Jesus I would probably call him a revolutionary, a-typical, the guy who goes against the grain, but I wouldn’t necessarily really realize how true my words are. And by tomorrow it might be that way again. But for today my eyes have been re-opened-by a story for children! It’s VBS this week and we did a lesson on Jesus healing the blind man with spit and dirt. Think about this, SPIT and dirt. How many of us would even consider spitting in public? And who on earth would touch there spit on the ground? And WHO would have the NERVE to take this spitt soaked mud and put it on another person? It makes me cringe. I’m not sure how I would have felt if I was the blind person and Jesus was putting this concoction on my eyes. But I know it certainly isn’t what I would have requested as the way to make me see. I mean, come on, couldn’t he just do what he did with the guy who was lowered from the ceiling?  So as I sat there placing our “mud” on the foreheads of these children who were exclaiming things like gross! and slimy! and ick! I really wondered what Jesus was thinking when he did what he did! And I feel like I can see maybe for the first time, how truly unconventional, radical, a-typical and everything else Jesus was. I wonder if he migh be calling us to do something completely ridiculous like spitting in the dirt to place a muddy solution on the eyes of the blind? I mean, if he was so unconventional, it seems like his followers should be as well.