Repeat after me: My Child is My Responsibility.
After talking with a friend today about her feelings towards the children's programs in her church, I was struck by a statement that she made. She does not think that her church has enough programs for her children, and her statement was this: 'My children are not being spiritually fed. Therefore, my church needs more children's programs.'
At the time, I knew her statement just didn't sit right with me, but I was busy with other things & couldn't articulate why I felt this way. After coming home, and spending a few minutes thinking about it, I realized that this is an attitude that I hear WAY too much of, in talking with many of my mom friends. There is a prevailing attitude today that my child is not my responsibility, but qualified others should take care of certain aspects of raising my child.
For example, how many mothers have you heard say, "I don't need to sit down with my preschooler and teach him/her to read, write, do math, etc. - that's what kindergarten's for. That's what teachers get paid to do." Maybe it isn't as common as I imagine, but I have heard it several times recently, and if you have heard this, do you agree with it? I wholeheartedly do NOT. Sure, teachers are paid to teach, and that is the purpose of schools, after all. But the ultimate responsibility for my child's education lies with my child's parents. Me and my spouse. NOT with the teacher. If my child is struggling with an area of his schoolwork, I need to be the one to figure out a plan - either to sit down with him myself and help him to understand the concepts, or to get him some tutoring in this area. It is MY responsibility. And if my child is gifted in a certain area, and bored with the work given to him by his teacher, I need to be the one to figure out solutions to the problem - to be proactive in finding and incorporating more appropriate work into my child's school day, instead of expecting the school to automatically provide extra programs to benefit my uniquely gifted child.
The same concept applies to our churches and our churches childrens' programs today. Sure, our churches would LOVE to help kids and teens grow spiritually through our ministries, and yes, that is our goal. But, again, it is not the church's ultimate responsibility to make sure our children are growing spiritually and to feed them daily with the Word of God. Just as with education, providing spiritual leadership is the parents' responsibility. This is not to say that children's programs do not have value, or even that I disagree with my friend's concerns about her churches' children's programs. We have a responsibility to make sure our children are being spiritually fed, and this starts (and ends) at home, and includes choosing a church which has programs that fit our family's needs.
Do you agree with me, or am I way off base? Also, is the attitude I'm presenting as prevalent as I imagine, or have you never heard anyone share statements like these? Tell me your thoughts!