The Sunday school dancer...

So it's come to my attention  that angel #4 is not quite an angel in Sunday School. He's got ants in his pants during the lesson, and refuses to do his seat work (which is odd, because he loves it at home). Friends and staff from church are offering a myriad of excuses such as:

Oh he's still adjusting (perhaps)
Its just the language barrier (nope, that "sit still and be quiet" look is the same in both languages. Trust me.) 
He'll be "better" when he's had more time to adjust... (not likely)

The bottom line is my kid is not respecting someone else's authority. And that is not ok. Yes his world has been turned upside down by international adoption. He needs extra grace. Yes, has a social history full of pain and rejection, which means extra hugs and kisses. Those are truths. Not excuses. Deep inside this boy is a child of God who will someday become a man of God. But not if people let him get away with negative behavior.

We've considered several options:
1. Give him a teenage buddy to help him "understand" his environment (which probably won't change anything because it's an authority issue, not an understanding issue)
2. start using the positive reward system - which I loathe. Shiny gold stickers make me think of a puppy trained to preform, not a child of God with an obedient heart.
3. Find someone he does respect to lead his little heart (aka Mom, Dad or Grandma). Which yes, will work. But not for the long run. I can't go to college with him to be his conscience.
4. Be willing to feel helpless. Sometimes when I face a huge problem (that I didn't create but am still responsible for "fixing") I have to wonder if the source of the problem isn't just God asking me to be willing to be helpless for a little while.

Yes, my child I have asked you to fix this problem. No you don't have solution today. And that is ok, because there is an answer, and I will show it to you when the time comes. I just need you to understand that I am in control, and it's my problem to fix through you.

That I can do.

And to all those Sunday school teachers who have been rather annoyed by my son who is dancing around the room during story time - my sincerest apologies.


Rachael and Chris said...

With our boys, one of us stayed in the room (just as an 'observer') with each of them until the boys felt comfortable with the situation and to watch their interaction with everyone else. We didn't step in and do anything, just became a presence in the room. It helped in a lot of ways, especially with the older one (he was 4 when we brought him home). Just knowing that Mom or Dad was watching was enough for him to settle, focus and pay attention. If we saw things that needed addressing, we did so after class, not in class. We let the teachers handle the in-class issues and talked with him after class about it as well.

Melissa said...

I really do think he is still "settling in". That said, my son is the same way in Sunday school, full of energy. Seems like they could have a lot in common, although Colby is only 4. But your little guy has learned from many days at home how to behave and what the expectations are from you. I think he is still learning what the Sunday School teachers are expecting from you. I think a peer role model would be a great help, even having his brother in with him. It might settle him a little. He might still be anxious about you coming back. Could be many things. I think trying a peer model and having conversations with th teachers, with him present, to lay down the expectations will help. I think he might understand better then. Keep us posted!

Savannah McQueen said...

As a Director of Children's Ministry at our church, I cannot tell you how refreshing this post is. So many people don't care, make excuses, blame the S.S. leader, and the curriculum, rather than take responsibility for their child. You (or I) may not have the perfect solution for our child's behavior but how nice that you aren't blaming someone else, either. It will pass, he will get it, and in the meantime his dancing is not the end of the world. One day you'll be sitting around the Thanksgiving table discussing his Sunday School Dancing Days! ;)

Vangie Peterson said...

I love you, Elissa, and I think you're amazing! Keep on....


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