My love of working with kids was severely threatened when I began waitressing during college. The excitement I used to get at interacting with children was put to the test whenever a family with little kids would walk in the restaurant and head towards one of my tables. See, while those kids were here, they would rule that restaurant. They’d throw everything near them–crayons, cups, food. They’d scream. They’d talk at the top of their lungs. They’d peek their heads over the back of their booth and stare at the party behind them all while menacingly dropping spaghetti into a stranger’s purse. They’d curl up with their iPad and play Angry Birds at ear-splitting volumes. (Why do you need to hear the birds in order to play? That game requires no sound at all. NONE.)
One family in particular stood out to me. They were one of the last tables of the night, and the husband and wife had three children under the age of ten with them. I plastered a smile on my face and prayed that I wouldn’t end the night on my hands and knees, trying to dig all the orphaned Cheerios out of the seat cushions. But, instead of a hellish experience, the children were…amazing. They said please and thank you. The older ones spoke quietly with their parents while the littlest one colored on the place mat (only on the place mat, and not all over the table/sugar packets/menus).
Finally, by the end of the meal, I was able to say (honestly) how wonderful it’d been to serve them. Their children were so well-behaved and polite. I remember the dad smiling at me and telling me that they were Christians, and that they wanted their children to be a reflection of Christ’s character.
I was basically like..
How cool was that? That family had a great opportunity to share Jesus with their waitress simply because she was so amazed at how well behaved the children were.
That’s part of what we wanted to teach our kids with this week’s puppet skit–how to be a light to all the world.
In this skit, Suzie accidentally hurts her little brother Andy, and he’s so angry that he refuses to forgive her. But, after their fight, Andy tries to witness to a nearby kid, but the kid (Grover? Champ? Ad-libbing at its finest, folks!) doesn’t believe him. See, he’d just been mean to his sister, and didn’t really act like Jesus at all.
Andy learns about the story of how a light, hidden under a basket, can’t be seen. What good is being a light then? If you can’t see the light, it’s not worth anything.
One of our great Sunday School teachers did a good job of explaining this principle to our youngest class–the 3 and 4 year olds.
It’s good to train our children to behave in public, but do they know why it’s good to behave in public? The way we act is a direct reflection of Jesus!
To quote our Sunday School teacher above, “When Jesus comes into your heart, you become like a light!” You are able to shine your light onto other’s lives so that they can have the light for themselves!
What are some practical ways that you help your children learn how to behave in public? Do you have any good stories about times you’ve seen kids behaving (or not behaving) when they’re out?