We went to kid’s church again Saturday evening. All of them wanted to go, they like it very much. The week before they were given a “respect” plane ticket – it was to be filled out every time they showed respect during the week. Then, it was to be returned the following week. If they were able to have all five lines filled out with respectful things, they were to receive a reward. Of course, I was on top of it.
It was like an assignment and my kids are respectful most of the time.
Since I did serve in children’s ministry for so long I know the efforts that go into coming up with ideas and it makes a difference when the kids participate. There were only five kids who came back with cards – three of them were mine. The pastor told them they could come up on stage and get their reward. (Which was a horrible, not any juice whatsoever, “juice” drink and a bag of chips. Why food? Why people? Can’t we get a little more creative? Sorry.)
Anyway, the point, all three of them went up there!
Without me! Not only did they go up there, but they also stayed. This is huge for all of them. Granted Ariel and Joshua are a bit more daring, they still get a bit anxious when in new environments or in front of large crowds. They did great. They sat in their chairs and listened. They smiled at me and waved. I giggled with giddiness the whole time. However, Daniel started to get too investigative. He almost knocked over their gargantuan airplane prop trying to figure out what it was made from.
My aunt went and got him.
He was a little upset that he had to come down; he wanted to stay up there. One of the guys I spoke with last week listened to me about our gluten-free diet and no sugary types of drinks and such. He was very concerned and went out of his way to find snacks that they all could have and got them bottles of water instead. (Bonus points!)
Daniel did not want to leave during the music.
I was amazed that he made through the pastor talking so long because the pastor was starting to lose me and I was actively listening. He stayed, participated in worship songs, and still wanted to go to class. The class was a bunch of rowdy first and second grade boys. He loved it! He and Joshua played “Heads Up Seven Up” Daniel struggled a little with the rules, but he still wanted to try without me asking him or prompting him to try. He actively watched the other boys and tried to interact with them. In groups like that in the past he would not try to interact. He would find something and distract himself. The other boys have been watching him and they know that he seems different, but are not sure what it is.
I am going to ask if I can explain autism to them at some point.
I do not want to jump right in yet because we are still checking it out. Daniel could change his mind and it may be too much for him. I do not think he will though, he is really happy about going and his focus is not on the church’s huge air conditioner fans, the stairs, or the structure of the building. (Um, he is still interested in all of those things and we do have to talk about them all week, but he is also interested in the social part.) I want the kids from the class to feel a little more comfortable with me as well before I talk to them. I want to build relationships with them each week. I also want to observe the boys so I know their personalities because that will help me to communicate with them about autism in a better way. As well, as give me ideas to make it a positive thing.
I hate to say it, but I do not want to get my hopes up.
I do think all of this is fantabulous! I am excited about everything. I also know that it may not work out. It could work out for a while and I will be thankful for that. I will keep staying positive. I think before I would get so disappointed because I had the mindset of, “This is it! This will be the thing that works.” Now I am going with the flow. I hope for the best, prepare for the not so good, and keep my mind soaring for new ideas. I find it to be less stressful. I am just so happy that all three of them are enjoying themselves.
It is so great for ALL three of them finally to have a positive experience.
I have to explain a certain situation that made me uneasy. There was a moment when the pastor held up a big black board type of thing with note cards pinned on it. He said something about how they had the third to fifth graders write on those note cards wrong things that people had done to them and how that made them feel. He then, proceeded to turn it over and low and behold was Jesus face with a bunch of pins poking through it. He said, “Every time we sin we are not only hurting the person we are hurting Jesus.”
I gasped aloud at the horror.
My eyes were bulging out of my head and I said aloud without realizing it, “Thank God my kids are on stage.” They did not see the full affect of the image with the words. My aunt turned at looked at me asking what I said. I told her, “If my kids would have seen that image along with his words, they would have started to cry. They would think that they are literally putting pins into Jesus face.”
She did not quite understand, when you are in that paradigm it is hard to.
I found it to be ghastly and this is one of the things I have such a problem with, these certain types of religious teachings. However, I will only express that I understand my kids and how it affects them. (And me, I confess it was a trigger moment and I felt like I was a horrible, awful, undeserving to breathe air, type of person for all of the wrongs I have ever done! Only for a moment.) Possibly other kids know how to comprehend such a message, but I am a grown woman and I find it completely disturbing and not suitable for my children.
I did talk to them about it because they did see the image.
We discussed the message that the pastor was trying to get across. We also discussed how I do not feel that way, Daddy does not feel that way, and I explained how we define sin in our household. Although, I do not use that word as it is taken completely out of context and is filtered through peoples own perspectives and ideas. I am not trying to get into a biblical “sin” debate with anyone. Bottom line, the word sin sends me into trauma based memories and I cannot think in the unhealthy terms that it has been presented to me.
I will make sure that my children will not have that same trauma.
They are still too young and too literal in this area for me to get into deep philosophical conversations about sin. However, they are going to be exposed to the word sin so they need a context of our family beliefs. The church is still a great environment for us to learn how people have different ways of thinking, how to be respectful of different beliefs, and how to find common ground with them.
Other than the issue I mentioned, it was all positive and we enjoyed ourselves.
P.S. This is day five of the awesome timer, day three of another FANTABULOUS school day! We completed all of our lessons and were still smiling. We even went to the library today. I conquered quite a few of my phone anxieties as as well as being a bit social… tears to come by Wednesday I am sure. (My phone anxiety is not conquered by any means, I feel my heart hurting and a little panicky, but I know that it will pass in a little bit and that helps.) Who cares! I had success today.