Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.03.25

March 25, 2013


Church Culture: Out of Sight, Out of Mind – While I’m not familiar enough with this blog to know whether or not I agree with a lot of what this author says, I believe this article hits the nail on the head as to the ways that many churches view and “minister” to children.

“I lay there in that “not awake yet” fog wondering at the images that had been a part of my sleep: Thousands of children in the basement of my childhood church – alone, crowded in together. I was searching for my own babes in the midst of all those bodies. I found them and turned to take them with me and a few that were not mine followed.

As often happens with these types of images the only thing I know to do is pray. So I prayed for those children – the generations of children’s children and for the churches.

“Churches bear a heavy burden of responsibility to generations of children and their children’s children.”

And I’m afraid that many churches have buckled beneath the weight. They have taken upon themselves what is not rightly theirs to bear – at least not fully. Instead of partnering and coming alongside parents – they try to lead the charge. Meanwhile many churches (and families for that matter) have failed to protect the innocent in their midst.

Here’s one of the many reasons why: Parents have not invited God into their homes and churches are bearing responsibilities that are not their’s in the first place. We check our kids like coats to a children’s attendant and then proceed to our own adult thing. We have learned to worship God separately: adults in the grownup spaces and the children in their spaces (which is often “out of sight, out of mind”). We bring home the brown paper bags filled with their work, craft or lessons – and it ends up in the trash. Quite often (but not always) the majority of what we bring home with us as adults is the garbage: frustration, gossip, spiritually drained, and pettiness.

Until a church culture makes the least among us a priority, seen as a blessing, instead of a distraction to be tolerated; families as a whole nourished and trained; the youngest among us considered first in the making of our budgets and planning of our spaces instead of afterthoughts in our vision… we are going to miss it.

We ARE missing it.”

Why Is Everyone Always Giving My Kids Junk Food? – Even though my children are not involved in a lot of peer-to-peer activities at this age, I have already felt this cultural peer pressure at work, and can only imagine what it would be like if my kids were in day school or organized sports.

“Last week my 3-year-old’s pre-school had a “color war.” An email sent to parents explained that there would be a fruit snack and “a treat of course.” It’s not so much the treat that’s the problem, it’s the “of course.”

As many defenders of pushing junk food on kids will tell you, “one treat isn’t going to kill them,” but it’s the societal “of course” attitude that might—as if 3-year-olds wouldn’t be thrilled to pieces to just play all day and enjoy some fruit on its own.”

“Somewhere along the line, we’ve normalized the constant provision of junk food to children. It seems no matter how small the ship or short the journey, sugar pretty much christens each and every voyage on which our children set sail.

There’s simply no occasion too small to not warrant a junk food accompaniment. But for me, the strangest part of all is the outcry that occurs if and when I point it out. My experiences have taught me that junk food as part of children’s’ activities has become so normalized that my questioning this sugary status quo genuinely offends people’s sensitivities and sometimes even generates frank anger.

Despite incredible medical advances over the course of the past 60 years, I would argue that the world is a less healthy place than it once was. Cooking has become a lost art, unstructured active play is on the endangered species list, and candy, which certainly has always understandably enjoyed a coveted place in children’s hearts, has somehow become the normalized cornerstone of their culture.”

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  • Erika March 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Just wanted to acknowledge how much I enjoyed the ironic juxtaposition of these two articles. I’m pretty sure our three youngest children’s SS teacher believes that children need candy to survive. A lot of it! We try to be intentional with follow-up of the SS material that comes home literally in a “brown paper bag”; we also are intentional with the consumption of the candy that comes home (some of which does eventually end up in the trash!!) The teacher has reassured me that each piece of candy represents a review question answered–but my mind doesn’t get much relief from that thought!