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What he takes away from Sunday school

Lil E complains about Sunday school every week. He also complains about wearing REAL! PANTS! -- the kind that don't have drawstring and holes where his knees can peek out -- and REAL! SHIRTS! -- the kind with (gasp!) buttons or without Yoda.

"Yeah," I tell him. "You don't have to love Sunday school and you don't have to love pants. But according to me, both are necessary once a week."

To be honest, I don't love getting out of the house extra early on the one day of the week we could laze around with iCarly and the New York Times. But we go because it's good for him and for us.

Our church is wonderful. It's an important part of our family. It's the place where I was taught to question my spirituality, the Christian tenets I'd learned at camp, even the Bible. It's where many of our close family friends are. It's where we discuss politics, listen to the sweetest gospel performances I've ever heard, laugh with the tenor section of the choir doing imitations of Martha Stewart in musicals based on biblical stories. It's where it is ok to reference the maternal aspects of God and call Her a She. It's one of the few places where I can be still, sing loudly, where I will stand in front of a congregation and lead a prayer aloud.

I went to Sunday school there, was baptized and confirmed there, married there. Now it is time for Lil E to sit in the same room where my church classmates and I once hid new-agey Bibles swathed in denim covers in the ceiling panels and learn a little about Jesus. I hope he will take that information into higher grades and other classrooms and question it all. Then I hope he will feel supported and empowered to find his way...somewhere to the place his own spiritual center resides. Perhaps he will reject it all. Maybe he'll be Buddhist. He might even sit beside me in the pew when he is grown.

For right now, he's getting the basics -- stories of the Bible, a little "Jesus Loves Me" and some discussion about how to be faithful people outside of the denim Bible hideaway. In a stack of papers and drawings he's collected from Sunday school in the last month or so, I found a booklet on how God works in our lives and families. He only told me that it was about GOD'S! RULES! MOMMY! and that they are VERY! IMPORTANT!

That led me to believe he was buying in. But the drawing I saw in that booklet told me that the kid clearly takes it VERY! SERIOUSLY! Peek on in.


Yes, that's right. Lil E firmly believes one of GOD'S! RULES! is "No eating too much candy." If you're not on board with this holier-than-kindergartener theological assessment, consider the image of the boy with a belly full of lollipops and other treats definitively saying, "BARF!"

Is it detrimental to grow up thinking God is going to get reeeeallllly pissed with you if you have a few too many Snickers? I'm not sure, but considering the amount of Halloween candy sitting idly on top of our fridge, I'm thinking it may be well worth the co-pays to the therapist on down the line.

It's true, this is a family rule. But the fact that he thinks it came from on high...well, I think I'm doing an even better job parenting this one than I realized. And, after all this time at our church, I'm pretty sure God's down with that.

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