Before anybody starts running off to social services and the police I better explain I couldn’t think of a title for this post which didn’t sound dodgy. It’s a post with some ideas for engaging in family worship at home and talking about God and sex, to your kids….there is no sex involved in family worship. Phew….that should have gotten rid of the perverts and the child protection types on with the post.
Last month I wrote a bit about being a Christian mum and earlier this week I gave some insight into a parenting course I have been going through, mainly as part of my research, called Visionary Parenting. Within it there is a section on engaging in family worship with your kids and how difficult this is and ways to do it, central theme being “get creative”.
As I went through this section and thought over the last decade with Third Party I realised I have done some stuff right and thought I’d share some of the stuff that we have done in our home over the years.
1) Veggie Tales. Third Party got bought up with Veggie Tales videos, (yes, when she was little it was videos). We used to watch them together and chat through the stories and very cheesy moral bits at the end sometimes when she was much younger. Sometimes we would pray too. She would also watch them on her own sometimes, and learn to sing the songs, just like with her other videos.
2) Family night. When Third Party was in junior school and into year 7/8ish we did family night once a week. This would involve a secualr DVD and some snack food and generally chilling out. It would also involve a short time, though, of getting a candle out and a book, often my Daily Celtic Prayer from the Northumbria Community and doing some praying and learning about a saint, modern or ancient. We’d quite often tie this in with something topical or something she’d been doing at school.
3) You Tube/ Beer and Hymns are things which Third Party goes on regularly amid the rest of her surfing. About once a month or so we will have a chill out time where we will go through some worship stuff, including some beer and hymns footage, and also talk about some kind of spiritual issue or reminice about some festival or whatever and the spiritual seeds sown. She does not like to pray with me now, but that is fine….I don’t push it. I regard the chatting about faith related stuff and sharing in some hymns and worship songs as family worship….we do it knowing God is in our flat the whole time and that the songs are bringing praises and stuff to God, rather than just singing.
4) Eastenders and Cosmo. This is where the sex starts to come in. We chat about the story lines, articles and help pages and discuss what the Christian way of seeing this stuff is and how it influences the choices we make. Sometimes, we get the bible out and see what the scriptures say on this stuff or sometimes we just talk about the biblical principles underlying it. Example this months Cosmo has an article on having sex in different rooms of the house and some ideas about household appliances, which as Third Party said, were just kinky. Besides giving us another chance to have the “sex within a committed, loving, monogomous relationship” and “don’t do it until you’re older” chat this article gave us the chance to discuss some important issues about power in relationships and what was healthy sex. We were able to move on from the “don’t do it until you are in the sort of relationship God would approve of” stage to the sex is good, but it needs to be equal…the bible teaches mutual respect and talks of a submission in relationships which is not sexually based and kinky but rather of one which is about service and giving out of love in a relationship. Note sometimes with my it’s healthy to talk about sex attitude I apparently go too far, but the point is the sex and relationships talk doesn’t get removed from the God talk it all comes in together in our house. My aim is to make conversations about God and about issues like sexuality as normal as anything else within the home. I don’t want Third Party to grow up embarassed talking about either.
5) The prayer wall. The Visionary Parenting course suggests you have a worship room. Well, in our flat that is not entirely practical. Family worship, such as it is, takes place in the living room. In some ways this is good because it again sends the message worship is another part of everyday life. Yes we may take time out, to honour God specifically, but it is part of our whole life. Anyway, what our flat does have in the kitchen is the prayer wall. This is a space on the wall which is round a corner in the kitchen, out of general view unless you are in the kitchen. It has a mix of prayers, postcards, flyers and liturgy which get added to. It provides space for me, and Third Party if she wants to just stand whilst the kettle is boiling or whatever and take time out to pray. It also has resources there, when all other prayer seems too hard, to go through. It reminds us of marginalised groups, campaigns, and hard issues to do intercessionary prayer for aswell as giving some comforting stuff. As I say I mainly put the prayer wall up for me to use. However, I have realised it has the additional benefit of being a resource for Third Party aswell and shows her prayer is part of the “everyday” in our house. It is a way of modelling without doing the stuff which would make her cringe. It is also something she can contribute to if she chooses.
So there you have it, not all the answers, but some ideas. I am not the “ideal Christian parent” we all know that and I don’t have the “perfect Christian kid” but I do have a fifteen year old who chooses to go to church and has a living faith….so perhaps some of the above does help your child develop their own faith.