“Scene 1, Action!”
Christy dropped off Emma and Luke at their Sunday School classes, then dashed off to get coffee and chat with her friends. It was a relief to hand her kids off to someone else and know they would be well cared for while she had some adult time for the next couple of hours. Meanwhile, back in the classroom as the minutes ticked by, Emma became more and more unruly. She refused to stand in line to go to the restroom with the other girls, she whined about the snack, and she talked during the story. Down the hall in Luke’s class, he was furiously throwing Duplo’s when told to pick up toys, then he scribbled angrily on his paper when his teacher tried to instruct him.
At the end of the church service Christy stood in line to pick up her kids. She handed over the name tags and rushed off to the car. Once in the car she popped in a DVD to keep the kids entertained while she drove home lost in her thoughts.
“CUT!” – What’s the Problem?
Is there anything wrong with this picture? After all, Christy is taking her kids to church.
Christy just missed an incredible opportunity to be a godly mom. Emma’s Sunday School teacher has observed Emma over the past month and is concerned about her behavior. She wants to help Emma get the most out of Sunday School and help Christy present Christ to Emma. But sadly, Christy never asks Emma’s teacher about her behavior in class. Christy knows Emma is difficult to be around, but frankly she gets tired of having to deal with her. One time the Sunday School teacher mentioned a problem she had with Emma’s behavior and Christy felt attacked and responded angrily.
This sort of incident is all too common. The issue at hand is one that is difficult to address because it involves the pride of both parties. The Sunday School teacher felt attacked too. She responded by not wanting to mention any problems to any parents.
There is no easy answer to this issue. The hard work of parenting and supporting parents requires humility, honesty, and a commitment to the child’s wellbeing. All to often, a parent’s pride and a teacher’s fear of conflict result in the child never getting the help he needs. The child is the one who is hurt in the long run.
Unaddressed issues of rebellion in young children very easily continue and become rebellious attitudes in teenagers. Christy may wake up one morning when Emma and Luke are teenagers and wonder what happened.
There is a better way!
Christy can start by simply asking Emma and Luke’s Sunday School teachers for feedback on how they behaved in class. She can swallow her pride and instead be thankful that the teacher is willing to help her with her parenting issues.
The Sunday School teachers can continue to be willing to mention behavioral problems to parents, even if the parents respond wrongly. By seeking to please Christ and not protect themselves from a possibly ungrateful parent, they demonstrate the love of Christ to the family.
Parents and teachers both stand to benefit from a more active relationship. One of the most loving things a parent can do is cultivate a network of supporters to actively participate in the discipleship of their child, and one of the most rewarding things a teacher can do is contribute to that network of support.Be on the lookout for part 2 of this blog!