Sadie Stratton Wohlfahrt, Children’s Minister
Our children learn much of their spiritual habits by simply tagging along and observing us; not because of anything we teach them formally. This is at once exciting and terrifying. I always wonder: what do my kids see by watching me? What do they deem valuable because of the attention I pay to it? What do they dismiss, because I don’t give it any weight?
A few weeks ago I was doing my usual Sunday scramble. I always do at least a few hot laps around the church every hour, getting whatever needs gotten and hugging whoever needs hugging- this time, with my 6-year-old daughter in tow. On this particular morning, a solo mom was attending the blended service with her own 6-year-old daughter for the first time. I chatted with them for a minute before getting called away to something- or someone- else. When I returned to the pew, I found that Ruby Mae had picked up where I had left off. She had asked the young girl to sit next to her. She had invited her to her Sunday school class. She ran to the snack table for a juice box because her friend “was thirsty.” After the children’s moment, she walked with her upstairs to their class and made sure to sit with her again, so she’d already know someone.
I have never explained hospitality to Ruby Mae. I have never said “In our church, we…” She just experienced it. She saw that it was important to all of us- and that we cared. She knew what she had to do, without being told. How wonderful that we can impart our traditions and values so effortlessly! Our children are watching- and they are very intuitive. They can sense what is special and important to us- about worship, about relationships, about mission, about money- about all of this business that makes up kingdom work.
Over lunch, I decided to extend what my mother always called a “teachable moment,” and challenged Ruby Mae to follow up with her new friend. I explained something that she hasn’t been able to witness yet; in our congregation, we always try to connect with our visitors the day after they visit- to let them know we enjoyed having them. I asked if she would like to write a follow-up letter to her new friend. It is in the attached picture- and it was all her.