A Short Homily on Expectations
June 18th, 2012
At our church in Pittsburgh, the kiddos didn’t come to “big church.” Miss Mouse sometimes sat with me for a few minutes at the beginning, but always sprinted for the upstairs nursery as quickly as possible. It was a relief to both of us, since she never did all that well in the pews. There was an unfortunate incident one time involving a crayon and a hymnal. Shudder.
In CountryChurch, however, the setup is different. They have a fantastic Sunday School curriculum for young kids which takes place at the same time as adult Sunday school — before church. During the regular service, there is nursery care for the true babies (and rowdy toddlers like Buggie), but the “big kids” sit in Big Church starting at about age 3. I was going to keep Miss Mouse in nursery for a while, but the site of another three-year-old sitting peacefully in the pews
shamed inspired me.
Thus it was that we prepped Miss Mouse for her debut as a Big Girl in Big Church this past Sunday. We talked about our expectations and laid out three rules:
1) We sit quietly in big church.
2) We color ONLY on paper.
3) We wear our listening ears.
I also promised my daughter that I’d paint her nails purple if she made it through the whole service.
How’d she do?
Don’t mind the face. That was her – “I want more purple polish on my nails, why are you stopping at three coats?” – face. She really was excited, I swear.
Although the reward was obviously a factor, I truly believe that the biggest element that led to success was my expectations. I told her clearly that I thought she was a big girl and could handle grown-up church service. And so she could. Our kids live up to our expectations – good expectations and not-so-good expectations. I’m trying to focus on the good ones!