An open apology letter to my church family
I am sorry that you had to stand there witnessing my obstinate 2 year old crying after I caught him trying to sneak into the children’s church cracker stash. He has been trying these tricks more in the last couple of weeks at home too. He has gotten into cookies, pudding, graham crackers, and cereal all before 7:00am several days in a row now. I guess he is pushing these boundaries at church too. I remember going through a similar phase with my 1st born around this age. It’s the TERRIBLE twos people. We had to install safety locks on all our doors to literally keep kid #1 from exiting the house without our knowledge for crying out loud. Trust me, I am disciplining kid #3 for this now too and I know it will pass but right now we are in the thick of training him. He’s a sinner and he needs correction. I’m sorry my correction caused a kerfuffle in the lobby at church.
If you happen to catch this kid red handed when I am not looking, PLEASE tell me! Also, do not be afraid to tell my kid what the rules are and that he is breaking them. Don’t let those cute puppy dog brown eyes and that pouty mouth convince you that it is okay to go ahead and hand him a few crackers since you know that’s what he wants. He needs to learn to come to mommy or daddy and to ask for said cracker the proper way. Be my tribe. I am giving you permission to verbally correct my kid. I don’t have xray vision or the ability to zero my focus in on him 100%. I really do wish to chat and catch up with people after the service and if I get distracted by that long enough my kid probably is sneaking around looking for something to get into.
I also would like to apologize for the wild and rambunctious behavior of my 4 and 5 year old. They get wild like that at home sometimes. They ESPECIALLY get wild like that when they are overtired and HANGRY. They are still learning how to process and manage feelings of hunger and tiredness and they don’t really know how to express those very well… we’re working on it. I am not okay with them playing tug of war with a jacket in the lobby while the adults are trying to get themselves a cup of coffee or have a normal conversation with a peer. I am sorry that they almost careened into you completely unaware of their surroundings. I am sorry I did not step in and stop it sooner. I was dealing with kid #3 trying to run away for the umpteenth time while trying to get his coat on so we could just leave already.
I am sorry my unusually wild 5 year old bolted into the church nursery swinging around a toy karaoke machine singing at the top of his lungs. As “nursery coordinator” I am more than embarrassed. I can tell you for a fact that today he is like crazy overtired. He doesn’t nap anymore but today I made everyone go to their beds as soon as they were done with their lunch. He fell asleep within 5 minutes and HE IS STILL SLEEPING (2.5 hours and going). When he is overtired he gets wild. In fact, sometimes I think wild is an understatement. I probably didn’t handle the situation that great either but I plan to work on that. Thank you for not judging me. I do want to tell you that it is okay for you to sternly tell my kids who are too old for nursery that “you are not allowed in nursery during church when there are babies here” because they CLEARLY don’t get that it’s not appropriate for them to run into nursery without permission. Again, I’m inviting you to be my tribe.
BUT, know that I WILL be having SEVERAL conversations with my kids about what the expectations are of them in church, before church, after church, etc and I hope that spending some more intentional time training them in this area will produce improvements! If I have to walk away from conversation suddenly, or leave early, or step into the classroom during sunday school to intervene I just might have to.
I think my kids have become a little “too comfortable” in church. In many ways they should be comfortable there! They are there a lot; it’s like there second home (yes they are pastors kids #facepalm), but it seems they think it’s just a play space like their bedroom or our basement. Kids shouldn’t act like that in church, whether they are pastors kids or not. There is a difference between welcoming children to church and tolerating bad behavior. I want so desperately for them to learn to respect and value church as a space, that they might see that other people are there for godly spiritual reasons, and that they would develop a healthy fear and honor of church, that they would see it as a place of authentic ministry, not just another place to play. They are kids, yes, but I regret to say that I think their “normal kid behavior” has been excused for too long and I am going to step up my parenting game on Sundays.
Yes, this means more work for me, more intentionality, more possibly missing some teaching time, or missing out on fellowship. And this has to be my job because my husband is busy being a pastor. Sundays are “mom’s 100% on duty”, that’s just my reality and I am ok with that. I really want to get to a place in parenting where I can trust my kids to play appropriately and wait patiently so that I can stay for the meetings, or for the fellowship, but right now they have not earned that trust. I’ve probably trusted them too much and too soon. I need to teach them how to be trustworthy first and we’re just not there yet. I am going to try to be more aware and more consistent. I probably have been thinking of it as a phase I just need to endure but I see now that’s wrong thinking. I need to be an active participant in this phase and see it as an opportunity to disciple them. So that’s going to be my aim from here on out. I hope you’ll understand. Thank you for being my tribe and for being SO nice to my kids even when they are not being nice. I appreciate the love and support greatly!
Thank you, church, for loving them, serving them (and me!) unconditionally, offering assistance, and for being my tribe! Maybe you don’t know that’s what you are to me, but I hope you know now! I love you all!