Do You Have A Drop-Off Mentality?

July 31, 2012

Faith At Home

For years I’ve dropped my boys off at church to participate in a special needs ministry.  I’ve been very fortunate, as we have bounced around geographically.  Considering that very few churches have a special needs ministry, I’ve been pretty lucky to have found the churches where I could drop-in and drop-off my boys so that my wife and I could worship together!

How To Get 2-Hours Of Relaxation

I was reading a magazine article the other day about how parents could add 30-minutes to their day.  30 wonderful, quiet, blessed minutes to just relax!  As a parent of children with special needs the author definitely had my attention.  However, the last suggestion almost made me fall out of my chair.  The last suggestion stated that a parent could get two hours more out of their week by dropping their child off at church and finding something relaxing to do while they were in Sunday school or go run errands!

And why not church?  After all, Sunday school is an environment that teaches Godly morals, keeps kids constructively occupied, and surrounds them with other kids their age and positive role models.  I’m not advocating for this idea, but there are worse places that a parent could drop a child off.  Now I’ve never gone as far as dropping my boys off and running errands…however…I have quickly dropped off my boys at the church special needs ministry with the expectation that they would teach them good morals and a solid faith while my wife and I attended a Sunday school group or enjoyed the worship service.

I’m Busy!

At face value there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with dropping your child off for children’s church or special needs ministry.  Many other parents do the same thing.  The challenge with my “drop off” mentality is that when I have been encouraged to be part of teaching these same morals and faith with my boys at home, I’ve often dug in my heels and thought, “Are you kidding me?  Do you have a clue how busy I’am as a parent to boys on the autism spectrum?”

In other words, my drop-off mentality places the burden of teaching the tenets of my faith and love of Jesus solely on the shoulders of the Sunday school program.  I don’t think this was God’s intention when He created the Church.  I agree with George Barna when he states,

  • “The local church should be an intimate and valuable partner in the effort to raise the coming generation of Christ’s followers but it is the parents whom God will hold primarily responsible for the spiritual maturation of their children.”

When I read Deuteronomy 6:4-8 I also get a clear picture of who is primarily responsible for the development of their child’s faith:

  • Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your  heart and with your entire being and with all yourmight.  And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be  in your  minds and hearts;  You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the  hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:4-7).

A primary responsibility that parents have is to be the spiritual leaders in their homes.  As a father of boys with special needs, being the “spiritual leader” in my home sounds like a lot of work.  And to be honest, parenting kids with special needs is already a lot of work!  But in this passage in Deuteronomy I don’t see anything that says that parents of children with special needs are excused from being the responsibility of teaching their child[ren] about the Father’s love for them.

Look, I don’t have all of this figured out.  But I’am convinced based on what I’ve read in Scripture and what I know deep down in my heart of hearts:  God doesn’t just want me to drop off my boys at church and think thats all that they need to become the men that He wants them to become.  I need to get more involved at home on a regular basis and assist my boys in learning that they too have been made in the image of a Father who loves them more than anything or anyone else.

I’m not sure how that’s going to look because I’m feeling fairly stressed with the many responsibilities that come from having a child with special needs.  But I’m going to trust that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” put my best foot forward, and go for it.  If you’re a parent of a child with special needs I hope that you will join me on this journey because I’ll need all the support I can get!

Subscribe to this blog or click “like” on our Special Friends Ministry facebook page if you want to be alerted to when the next post is published.  Michael Woods

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods

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