Friday, October 09, 2009

Lessons Learned

My son seems to have found a way to work the AWANA system . Clearly I’m missing something as a parent….

M: I got my book tonight! I finished the last 3 sections and got my book!

Me: Great! How did you do that? I only signed off on one section for tonight. How did you manage to get the other two? I didn’t think you had studied them enough yet.

M: Well, I’m usually one of the last ones to say verses, and N_____ always has, like, 12 or something, so while he says his, I study mine, and by the time they get to me I can say them.

Hmmmm. So, one boy actually studies at home like he’s supposed to, and my little procrastinator piggy-backs off the time it takes him to say his verses and uses that time to cram. So, is the lesson being learned that procrastination pays off? What am I, as a responsible parent to do with that?

I’m making him study at home. I figure if he can learn two extra sections in the time it takes his motivated friend to say his verses, then he ought to really be learning it well here at home. Thankfully, having gotten his book has served as motivation to study. He’s been excited about doing it himself without me pushing so far this week.



Cupcake Mama said...

My hubby works the system is frustrating to me! Luckily, M doesn't do that YET and C is too young to tell. Also, you could see about requesting that he goes earlier during book time if he falls into that pattern again.

Moppy said...

Other kids do that and I think you see the problem - they aren't really learning it. Could they say the verse next week? Most could not. I wish there was some way to test that. It's been obvious with some kids who go to Bible Quiz and they don't do well.

Yvonne said...

Kinda makes one wonder why we participate in AWANA in the first place.

What's the purpose of AWANA--to earn a jewel, a patch, or a ribbon for running fast? What are we teaching our children?

We spent over 5 years in AWANA, serving, doing the Olympic games, Bible quiz and teaching. The Lord finally got through to us that what we were delegating to AWANA should be done by the parents at home. (Deut. 6)

It was a tough decision to leave the program; however, our family has become much stronger and biblically literate as a direct result of our leaving and spending time as a family studying Scripture.

Please prayerfully consider your involvement in AWANA.


Moppy said...

AWANA is probably the best children's program out there. Is it perfect? Nope! But there are so many kids who don't have the opportunity to learn Scripture or morals or much of anything positive at home. For those parents who are believers, it's important that they do what Rebekah is doing... see the problem and work on it as a family. I'll be one of the first to say it is not the church, nor Awana, nor Sunday School's job to do all the Biblical training of a child. However, I also would not tell a family to leave any of the above either. There's a balance. You have to find it. We did and have adult children who know His Word and serve Him.

Rebekah said...

There is no substitute for parents teaching their children the things of the Lord, I agree. It would be wrong to assume that just because I have them in church that I've done my job. But, at the same time, I don't think I need to pull them out of AWANA. What I need to do is study their verses with them and make sure that they understand what the verses mean and that they learn the value of hiding God's word in their hearts and learn to love God.

No "program" is perfect. But I don't think I need to pull out because of that. My kids need me to teach them the scripture at home, absolutely. But they also need the community of other Christian adults and peers to help them grow in Christ. I am thankful for their AWANA leaders who are teaching them, and I'm also thankful for the encouragement it gives me to continue teaching them here at home.

It does not have to be an 'either/or' situation. I want to take every opportunity I have to instill biblical truth in my kids. No, I don't drop them off at the church and assume they are getting all they need. But I am thankful for the Christian friends they have there and the support they have by seeing that there are other families who love Christ, too, and I hope that my son will be influenced by his friend who seems so involved in memorizing scripture....maybe that will spur him to want to do more and eventually he will want to do it on his own - from what we do at home AND what he does at AWANA and church.

For the record, this post was actually a tongue-in-cheek post, I know that the Christian life and teaching our children is about more than patches and such. My point was actually that I realized that I need to do a better job of encouraging them to study and not let them get away with doing the barest minimum. I know we have a very high calling to teach our children. I take it very, very seriously.

Rebekah said...

One more thing, the point of this post wasn't AWANA, per se. It was just supposed to be funny little story about my son and his procrastination tendencies which I want to train him better about.

I'm not an AWANA apologist, had never had any experience with it until last year, but I am thankful the leadership of my church has decided to have something of substance on Wed. nights - when I have choir practice - rather than just babysitting, which was the case in another church where we were members. Whatever the program/curriculum being used at that hour, at least my children are being taught something during that hour, and I know our church leadership does not take that time lightly, for which I'm grateful.

AWANA, or any program, is only as good as the people implementing it make it. If those teaching see these children as precious in God's sight and long to see them know Him, and see every time when they are in the buiding as a teaching opportunity rather than a babysitting burden, that will come across in the program. There are kids who come on Wed. who are not from churched families, but their parents will let them come to AWANA. If one kid is introduced to Jesus through that it is worth it.

Again, whether or not they are in AWANA on Wed. does not mean I'm not teaching them at home, too, so it's not an either/or scenario.

AWANA, or any program, is not intended to be a substitute for Christian parents teaching their children as per Deut. 6. No one claims it is. But, I am glad it is there on Wed. so while I serve in the choir my kids at least have some structure and encouragement to study. Sure, I need to follow through deeply at home.

Gator1995 said...

The book "Already Gone" by Ken Ham, et al., has some excellent interpretations of the 2001 Barna Research. Bottom line: Children are leaving the faith in Middle School, not in College. They have 'spiritually checked out' at 10-12 years old. Interestingly enough, it was the same percent that left the faith among kids who were in 'secular school', Christian School, or Homeschool.

My point is this: children need a solid foundation at home, along with solid teaching at church, yet be challenged in their faith in school and able to answer and defend their faith. This defense is our (parent's) job. It cannot be delegated.

This is a teaching moment for our son. It is somewhat humorous as he is a very perceptive little guy!

He is one of those kids who WILL NOT ask what he needs to get a 100%in the class, but WILL ask what he needs to pass!!!

That's my kind of kid!!! He is a chip off the ole' block at that age. But, spiritual matters are a lot different and he will understand that in his own time, and a little prodding from his parents (and continual prayer and teaching).

Thelma said...

My son does Junior Bible Quiz and has attempted to do the same. Silly boy. But wants to get the quiz outs and what not....I finally think I have gotten through to him that you have to "study to show thyself approved". I hope my Christopher realizes that working the system might work for a season but when it comes down to actually getting rewards and such for actually KNOWING the quizzes and answers you can only get it through study. I am also having to step up with my helping him study....and such as he loses focus sometimes. He wants to be in it but also wants to get it done the easy way. I want him to have fun with it but I also have to push a bit too...the balance is hard sometimes. Oh and my son......IS so like yours...LOL

Cupcake Mama said...

A qutoe from the Go Fish Guys blog 47% of American parents don't want to influence their kids too much about religion saying, "It's important they find their own way". Jamie of Go Fish says "This is great news because if 47% of parents are actually clueless enough to have this opinion, they probably don't have the knowledge to correctly teach their kids about the Bible anyway!

It's also great for those of us in children's ministry. Parents are open to kids "finding their own way". How do they do that? By learning from other people. I have an idea. Let's be those people!

It starts by us boldly sharing the gospel with kids. This stat tells us that unchurched parents are actually cool with that! I've said it before and I'll say it again: we can turn this country around in one generation if we focus on reaching kids with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bible!"
I see AWANA as another tool - a way to share the gospel and build a relationship with children and families. I personally know this blog author and her family does their best in training their children. I bet Yvonne does too, but what works for one family doesn't work for every family. Also, remember those children who live in homes where God's word is never opened....AWANA, VBS...none are perfect and can't substitute for the teaching of a family BUT sometimes there isn't any teaching going on at home in the first place.

Mrs. H said...

I have one of those "crammers" in my house as well. :)
This year, in first grade, my daughter has so much more homework (including memorizing a weekly Bible verse for school), that when awana began a few weeks ago, I just didn't push the memorizing for that. Needless to say, she is still getting signed off. She can handle much more in that little brain than I give her credit for and her dad/I need to step up to the plate! No reason we shouldn't be going over it at home as well. :)