Search This Blog

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Messy Life: a tangent

Ok . . . well house is coming together.  We've again passed references, we have again agreed terms, we are again expectant it will all work out.  Did I mention this is the second time we have got to this point in 3 weeks - the first time the Crown Estate withdrew permission to let the property.  On the plus side this house is very local so can still walk to school, library, brownies, shops, park and childrens centre.  On the down side the house backs onto a road where people walk back from the pub/town so we don't leave behind nighttime disturbances on summer evenings which have been such a nuisance here. At least we will be glad to move on when we do.

Recently I took the children to a messy church event - it was fantastic, but missed the idea of all age worship altogether, parents were given consent forms at the door and advised what time to collect their children, so it was in effect a single session holiday club - like Xsite but lower key and for younger children. Edward particularly enjoyed the freedom to worship and play as he chose and enjoyed enacting the Noah's Ark story with an ark playset.

The vision for Messy Church was familiar - make it easy and comfortable for families to come to church whether or not they have a church background, there is a structure and a format but its to enable not to constrict. I like it as a once a month session, but I like liturgy and sacrament too. I also felt like I have been here before its a new name for something all the churches I love have been doing for years.

Every church where I have felt happy has made people regard each other as family, the feeling of warmth and hospitality is expressed in sharing of time and energies but also in coffee and cake and food. The Seabrooks who now are at Taverham embodied this in the family service and their open house approach to bible studies 

Philip and Elizabeth Kettle were Pastors to Hitcham Free Church when I was a child, from a holiday club in 1982 where I became a Christian I discovered what a dynamic thing church could be. They encouraged discipleship by example and by opening their home and hearts to children and families - summer camps and a youth group in a caravan all showed such love. 

And I think of Bruce Nicole's Church in Camberley where even now despite the vast changes that have happened in that area and the number of people who have arrived since we left we still feel a sense of home.  Its no surprise to me that Messy Church occurs here or that the Church continues to grow because like all these churches it is grounded in love and led by people sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Finally I think of the place where my faith both in God and the possibility that other people could accept me took root, Hilfield Youth Camp, where I discovered that I was like Elijah in being oblivious to the surrounding of Angels in my life, and this was revealed to me through people who inspired me, who greeted me from day one not as a stranger but as a friend. This is what church should be.  Not perfection because that is only to be found  heaven, but messy, fun and welcoming with a reflective aspect that leads to real growth

All these wonderful experiences have shaped me, and its a shaping that isn't just from parenting, and one that reminds me how important it is to give your children places to explore their fellowship with God and with others outside the home.  My parents' best gift to me was to let me go to these events, camps and friday nights. Its a gift I want to give my children too - go to new places and find out who you are and who else  there is like you,  open your eyes to the fact that there are other children with values like yours and hopefully connect with God in a new way. Keep your brain switched on too, ask the questions you need to ask.

So where am I with parenting?  Failing! Life is messy like that. You can't crack it in a week. Praise is being rejected again, bribery/ tangible reward is not wanted because all Edward wants is to run free and not be in the buggy or holding hands no matter about the road. I persisted with him today which meant I looked like a real mean mummy - poor baby screaming in buggy was ignored until it was safe to let him down, with periodic options to comply he would not. Got to the park and free range he wanted to walk the wrong way, it all took so long! His sister missed out on play time because of his behaviour.

Also some of the behaviour is resentment about moving house (he is definitely stressed by things being packed up) and an awareness he is too young to have really that his friend - his best friend in all the world apart from his sister - is moving away.  He does have another friend he talks of often, another dear friend's son who has passed on clothing to him with stripes and vehicles on and who also has a deep appreciation of trains, but since he was barely speaking when they last met it might come as a surprise to this little boy that his clothing is appreciated or that Edward has decided trains are wonderful following sharing his track at Christmas. When Edward saw a tractor on his next size up nappies instead of familiar Bob the Builder he asked if this friend had given him the nappy (clearly he assumes good taste in vehicles comes only from this source!) I really hope they play nicely when they meet again in the Summer.

Foolishly I told Aslana today that the best behaved child could have the biggest room in the new house . . . did I just give away the Master Bedroom??

No comments:

Post a Comment