Sunday, June 29, 2008

Child sacrifice? Hmmmmm

During the week of Fourth of July, our community has a church service in the park.

The danger of that is combining the solemnity of worship with the temptation of swings and slides less than 100 yards away.

As the two youngest boys - ages 6 and 3 - ignored repeated warnings and threats to be quiet, my wife gave in an took them to the playground. (Or maybe she was trying to get away from the service? Hmmm.....)

I contemplated the punishment that awaited the youngest offenders. I mentally tallied the times we urged them to not talk aloud - about 347 at last count - and planned to keep them in time out until next year's church service.

Then the minister started his sermon.

He talked about God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. "OK," I thought. "God is telling me how to punish my kids." While I was thinking how to explain to the police my divine intervention, the minister switched gears to talk about how we need to let our kids be kids: i.e. - baseball is supposed to be fun, not a life-or-death career path.

The minister also talked about making sure our kids are responsible and live faithfully in the world. Those magazines' and their ideas on beauty? Not important.

In the end, there was no punishment. No sacrifice. Just a stern talking to with a warning on how to behave at the next public event. Then we let them loose in the backyard. To have fun.

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