As I take the time to reminisce over my years as a child growing up in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, I must admit that I had a very good childhood. No, my family didn’t have a lot of money, but neither were we considered poor by the standards of the day. Truth be told, my father was a blue collar worker in an auto plant and my mom stayed at home and took care of our family. We didn’t live in a huge house, but not many of my friends did either. As a matter of fact, back then, we didn’t spend a great deal of time discussing those kinds of things as kids, or as a family, for that matter. But one thing we did have back then was each other. Some of my fondest memories as a child were of the times we spent together just enjoying being a family. I guess that you can say that in many ways we were quite rich.
One of my favorite things that we would do as a family was to attend church. Now, for those of you who may not be aware, I was not raised as an “Adventist” but rather, I grew up in the Baptist tradition. I was not introduced to the Adventist faith until I was 16 years old. But that’s another story for another time. One of my favorite times of being at church was when we as children would attend the youth group meeting or Vacation Bible School in the summer. Those were the days when VBS was held during the day. Oh, how times have changed. As a child and later as a youth, I loved being at church. I love the singing, I loved the fellowship and yes I loved when the preacher stood up to proclaim the word of God with power and conviction.
But there was another thing that I loved about my church experience and that was that my family was a part of it. You see, my parents didn’t just send us to church, they took us to church. There was no poll taken Sunday morning to see if we as children wanted to go. Oh no! We were “escorted” to church. And quite frankly, that wasn’t a bad thing. My parents were of the opinion that something as important as attending church was too important a decision to leave up to us as children. If they didn’t leave it up to us to decide whether we wanted to attend school, then why in the world would they ever consider giving us the choice of whether we wanted to attend church? It’s because my parents decided to be parents and made the choice for me, that later in life I was able to make that choice for myself. But it all began when I was a child. If my parents were alive today I would thank them for making the decision for me, and I challenge our parents today to do the same. Who knows, your children may thank you for it later.