By Amy Toman
How we expect our kids to behave
Fundraising trips are difficult in themselves, without adding in the extra steps necessary when traveling with a family. The past 2 posts talked about when the family goes on fundraising trips and activities we use to entertain our kids. Today we will be talking about what Jacob and I expect out of our children when we are traveling for fundraising trips.
Let me first say that this is how WE are convicted our children should act and that each family will have their own expectations.
A lot of our expectations for our children during fundraising trips is similar to how we expect them to behave during our normal Sunday church services. Each child is different and each age requires different expectations; let’s start with Alethea who just turned 5 years old. She is old enough that we expect her to sit quietly and participate in whatever church we happen to be in that day. We have always kept her in church service with us and have taken the time over the last 5 years on training her how to be still and quiet. During a church service she is allowed to bring a small notebook with a pen that she can draw and write in during the sermon, but other then that she is required to participate. While at other churches, I know she will be more talkative than usual just because this is a new experience and she will have questions. When she starts asking questions, I will gladly answer any that pertain to what is currently happening, and then save the rest for after the service or presentation. Depending on the length (over 1 hour) of the service, or presentation, you might want to provide some other quiet activities.
When Gospel and Gaming is presenting during a Sunday school lesson or other special events, our expectations change a bit. If this is a church we visited multiple times and where we know the congregation, then Alethea would attend their Sunday School program. If the visit is our first or second time at a church, then Alethea would stay with me during the presentation. In this case, I will allow her to bring some small toys and coloring material to help keep her occupied. We like our children to be as engaged as possible, but recognize there are times children just need to play, so we do our best to allow her time to play quietly when available.
Ezra just turned 18 months and has begun a bit more intensive training session. In our home, when a child turns 18 months they are considered old enough to sit quietly through church and other events. Ezra has always been in church with us but before he was 18 months we would walk around with him in a carrier during the sermon, or let him play quietly in the back of the church. At this age, we are working on training him to sit quietly in the chairs and participate in the service. The same goes for whatever church we are currently attending. Now, there are many times that I am required to leave the service or presentation to correct his behavior, which we do and then return. This is a hard and frustrating process but is necessary if you want your child to be able to sit through future presentations.
There are times when all these expectations and guidelines go out the window. For instance, if we spent the day at someone’s house, had dinner with them and then go to a service or event, I do not have the same expectations. Our children have been on their best behavior while at someone’s house so I will give them so leeway during the service or event. This could mean that we spend some time in the hallway letting the kids walk around quietly, or bringing out some special quiet toys or movie with headphones.
Traveling to different churches with your children is a hard task but is not impossible. Taking the time to train them at home by sitting still to eat, listen to a story and pray is so important in them sitting still during a fundraising event.