I love roller coasters, especially the old ones where the tracks are still made out of wood. As you ride you can hear the wood warping and creaking at every turn. Don’t get me wrong, I like the new ones too that whip you in circles and up and down. The problem is I’m the only one in my family who loves them. Growing up, the only rides my parents let me go on were ones like the train, the submarine, or the ferry boat. Even my sister hates roller coasters. And somehow I managed to marry a person who doesn’t care for them either. My only hope is waiting to see if one of my children has inherited my love for roller coasters.
Recently, I took my kids to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Luckily both my kids were willing participants to ride on a roller coaster with me. As you can tell from the pictures, I seem to be the only one enjoying them. It seems silly to subject my kids to such things in hopes they will love them, but in some ways it is no different than what I do to them on Sundays.
Every Sunday, I take my kids to church. I have my son read the responsive prayers with me. I have him sing hymns with me. I try and teach them the rituals and patterns of worship. In all honesty, my hope is not that they will just have positive memories of church as they grow older, but that they will come to appreciate church as a part of their faith journey. I realize I have no control over whether they will be Presbyterian or Christian for that matter as they grow up – no more than my Southern Baptist parents had control over me. And while my kids come from a family that has about 8 pastors in the family, there is no expectation that my kids will join the “family business.”
As a pastor/mother, my intent is to at least expose them to a nurturing faith community so that they have an experience to make their own decisions, ask questions, feel safe and nurtured, and mostly loved. Although my kids may not care for roller coasters now, at least they tried it once with me. You wouldn’t know it from my son’s expression below, but afterwards he actually said he loved the ride. Maybe there is hope.