Thursday, August 20, 2009

How to NOT do church for kids

I'm reading Little House in the Big Woods to Carbon, and last night we read the chapter titled "Sundays". Here is the description in Pa's story about his father's church experience:

In church, Grandpa and his brothers must sit perfectly still for two long hours and listen to the sermon. They dared not fidget on the hard bench. They dared not swing their feet. They dared not turn their heads to look at the windows or the walls or the ceiling of the church. They must sit perfectly motionless, and never for one instant take their eyes off the preacher.

When church was over, they walked slowly home. They might talk on the way, but they must not talk loudly and they must never laugh or smile. At home they ate a cold dinner which had been cooked the day before. Then all the long afternoon they must sit in a row on a bench and study their catechism, until at last the sun went down and Sunday was over.

Carbon was wide-eyed as I read that to him. "They couldn't even stretch?! What if they got a cramp in their leg during church?!"

This is just about the opposite of how I do religious education for kids. It was pretty fun to come across this description in the book, and to see how shocked Carbon was. (It was right up there with his shock when he went to my grandparent's Presbyterian church and they didn't tell a children's story in the service.)

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