Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Got In Trouble in Bible Class

It is true. I got in trouble in Bible class last night. The director of the children's ministry even came to chastise me. I will get into why in a minute, but first you need a little background.

I signed up as an assistant for the creation science for kids class a couple of months ago. When I signed up, I was given a packet of stuff including what to do with unruly kids. We have just finished the first six weeks (4th grade). This was the first week of the new rotation of 3rd graders.

So what did I do? I took a belligerent kid to his mom. I know you are all horrified. Normally in a church with 5,000 members that would be a virtually impossible thing to do, but in this case I know the family and knew exactly where the mother would be. When we got to her, the mother seemed grateful and asked to keep the son with her. So I said OK and left him with her.

A few minutes later, the main teacher excuses herself and asked one of the assistant teachers to take over. She returned with the director in tow. The director told me in no uncertain terms that we are not to involve the parents except under very extreme circumstances. The proper response is to talk to the child at least twice about proper behavior. (Silly me. Here I was thinking that one warning was plenty for a third grader that has grown up coming to church and already knows how to act.) The next course of action is to find the person in charge of elementary or the childhood director herself.

Now of course I had read this weeks ago in the packet of stuff. I had assumed that this was because parents in a huge crowd of people are almost impossible to find. But no. The director explained that it was because parents feelings would be hurt if their child is brought to them.

So what do you think of this story? Am I a naughty, crazy teacher or what?


Wickle said...

Oh, yeah ... you're wacked out.

I mean, getting PARENTS involved???

What do you think, that parents should have something to do with their kids' behavior? Pfft ... you and your crazy ideas!


If the parents weren't upset, and don't seem to think that their time was violated by you asking them to watch their own unruly kids, there is no reason for anyone to be making a stink, in my opinion.

If the parents were complaining, and you didn't technically follow the letter of the procedure, I could see why someone might mention it, but it seems like you're entitled to at least two discussions about proper handling of unruly kids before you have to talk to the director!

Alright, maybe that wasn't COMPLETELY the end of sarcasm before.

Seriously, the point of such a class is supposed to be for the kids to learn, right? Not just day care? So getting parents involved with disruptive kids is just fine and dandy by me.

I would expect to be "interrupted" if my son was causing a problem in Sunday School.

Applied Christianity said...

You crack me up. Thanks for the encouraging comment.

Karen said...

Any parent who has "hurt feelings" because his/her child was pulled away from a class because the child refused to behave properly needs to have a reality check! This is what the job of parenting entails. If a church staff member can correct a child's behavior and the child remains obedient, fine. If not, and a parent is on the premises and can be found, I see no problem with bringing the disobedient child to the parent. The child is the responsibility of the parent.

When a child is sent to a school, where parents are not on the premises, parents are handing over their responsibility and authority to the teachers. Perhaps your church staff feels this same level of responsibility. As a parent, I personally would want to know my child is misbehaving, and to speak with and correct the child.

I had that opportunity with my four-year-old this year. We attend a somewhat larger church, and the nursery and preschool classes give the parents a "pager" in case they need to reach them for something. (It looks like a coaster that lights up, like what you are given when waiting at an "Olive Garden" restaurant.) My coaster went off on Easter Sunday morning and I headed to the preschool class. My son was by himself in the room next door seated with one of the pastors. He was having a very difficult time sharing the blocks that morning, even though his teacher intervened and tried to help him share. He wouldn't listen, became angry and wanted to hit a little girl who was trying to play with "his" blocks. The pastor left him alone with me. I appreciated knowing that he was having problems and being able to talk with him and correct him. He was surprised that mommy and daddy were called when he didn't behave and it left an impression. After he calmed down and understood what was expected, he went back to class, apologized to the girl and shared the blocks.

Of course, I would not get a page for my eight-year-old's behavior, but I would appreciate the same opportunity with him, if needed. As you said in your post, children this age should have more self control and understand what is expected of them. But if he won't behave, bring him out!

(Sorry so long!)

Applied Christianity said...

The boy in the story did a much better job after spending some time with his mother just as you said with your son.

I agree with you. I would rather know about and correct my own children's disrespectfulness. At our church, you are only given a buzzer for children 2 and younger.

No need to appologize for length. It was a great comment.

Scott Weldon said...

Seems to me to be another strong argument for Family Integrated churches. Those children need to be with their parents, learning with them and having their parents directly invovled in their learning.

Of course, I'm one of those REALLY wacked out people.

Applied Christianity said...

By really wacked out I suppose you mean one of those parents should actually be responsible for parenting their own children. If so, then I probably fit in there too.