Archive for July 14th, 2010

Kids Need Risks

July 14, 2010

A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor contacted me to ask if I thought kids today were over protected. Here are a few comments I gave her.
About 20 years ago, I directed day camps and worked with thousands of kids. Young campers would jump in creeks, go off rope swings, ride their bikes over homemade jumps and not be afraid to get dirty. Now kids complain if they get a dab of paint on their hands while painting a picture. Last month, I had a 10-year-old tell me he’s never used a hammer because his parents think it’s dangerous. In fact, I’ve had parents visit our house before letting their kids come over because they think our rope pulley, pond and two huge sheep are too dangerous. In my parenting sessions, I encourage parents to let kids take risks. If you’re at the airport, going on vacation, let your 11-year-old find the right gate, hand tickets to the agent and find the security line. If Grandma sends your son an ugly sweater, let him talk to the store clerk about making an exchange. Encourage kids to build forts and make their own skateboards. The creativity and self confidence they gain are worth more than any educational video game.

From Mega-Church to Micro-Church

July 14, 2010

Allan showing how preaching should be done

For years, our family attended a mega-church in Bellingham, complete with a charasmatic minister, lively music, top-notch sermons and of course, the occasional fog machine. As Allan and I travel for Soles4Souls, we seek out larger churches to attend each Sunday. (Partly because they have larger parking lots so the RV can get in and out!)
Saturday night a pastor knocked on our RV door at the campground and invited us to a church servive in the rec center in 30 minutes. Why not? We joined two other couples in the rec room adorned with stuffed deer heads mounted on the wall. Let’s not forget the large wastebasket in the center of the room to catch dripping water from the air conditioning unit. Throughout the entire “service”, the water hit plastic bottles in the wastebasket, producing the sound of popping popcorn.
The pastor has been holding services at this campground (owned by a Hindu family) for 14 years, so I really admire his dedication. Throughout the service, all I could think was, “I’m so glad Sondra isn’t here, because one glance at her would send me into a fit of laughter.” The well-meaning pastor introduced us to a young worship leader who couldn’t sing or lead worship. One of the couples asked to sing Amazing Grace, but the worship leader had never heard that song. He proceeded to lead us in singing Amazing Grace to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat and Jungle Bells (at the same time.) This was followed by his solo rendition of How Great Thou Art. Agaian, he had never heard the song and couldn’t read music, so he made up the tune to this well-known hymn. With each verse, I bit my lip harder and harder not to laugh. He meant well, but with the deer looking down on us, popcorn sounds and the “obscure” music, I wanted to laugh at the absudity of it all. I’ll spare the details of the pastor leading a disjointed, dull and dry explanation of a few Bible verses…for an entire hour!


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