Let Kids be Kids

Dear friends,
I do a lot of reading on Facebook clergy groups. Clearly, I’m a glutton for punishment! 😊
😊 I’ve noticed one consistent theme in my reading….the topic of pastor’s kids. So many of my colleagues have suffered because their children weren’t welcome. So many of my colleagues have struggled because their kids don’t fit the model of the “Perfect Pastor’s Kids.”
As I’m coming up on a year in this call (May 1), I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have embraced my kids as your own. What’s more…whenever one of them acts up in worship or Sunday school, they have been embraced by love. I’ll freely admit. I want my kids to be perfect. I don’t want Sam to lay under the chairs at the beginning of worship. I don’t want him to lift his palm frond on Palm Sunday and proclaim, “By the power of Grey Skull, I command you.” But….it is what it is. Sigh. 😊  
I love how you laugh with him, how you welcome him and Emily, and how you support us. I can’t tell you how many people who have said, “We get it. Let your kids be kids.”   Let kids be kids. Did y’all hear that?? Kids aren’t perfect. They are going to be wonderfully wiggly, and they will cry. They’re going to act out and say things at awkward times (most likely during a children’s sermon! Ha!)  
What can you do? If you see a parent struggling, offer to help. If there is a baby crying, offer to comfort them. Please note: Crying or laughing babies don’t distract me at all. #VeteranMom  
If there is a wiggly toddler, and the parents are clearly frustrated, offer our “Pray and Play” space in the back of the sanctuary. Or…If the child is comfortable in your arms, simply hold them during service. One of my greatest gifts when Emily was a baby was a huge network of parishioners who would hold her, comfort her, rock her, and let her sit with them during worship.  
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve asked kids of all ages to “help” (they did it, I was simply there for moral support) me light the candles on Sundays. My biggest faith formation events were being involved in worship leadership…not as an after-thought, not on a special Sunday, but as a regular part of worship.  
That’s my goal. That every child knows they have a place here. Period. Whether it’s lighting the candles, or extinguishing them…handing out bulletins…reading…etc. Every person, no matter how young or how old, is equipped to serve.  
Kids aren’t the future of the church. They are the church right now.
So, as we head into our second year together, let’s increase our welcome to them and their families.