Friday, July 27, 2012

Dancing at VBS

I spent this week at our church's Vacation Bible School.  Nearly 700 kids and 300 volunteers helped to transform our sanctuary into a giant playroom where we learned we could trust in our God no matter what.  A similar scene is being repeated all over the country as parents look to keep their kids engaged over the summer respite.  One mom was overheard saying this was the 6th VBS she had sent her kids to this summer (that is a whole different topic for a different day)!  While each church puts their own little spin on their VBS, couldn't you argue that for the most part they are all pretty much the same?

Sure.  Especially in one glaring area: the lack of dads in the room.  While there were a handful of men running around as volunteers, the crowd definitely took on a more lady-like appearance.  Dad's are busy.  Lots of dads work during the day and that makes it extremely difficult to get to church during business hours.  Truthfully, we don't get but so much time off and doesn't it make more sense to save that for the family vacation?  I could keep going on and on with other reasons why its more of a Mommy-style gig.  I know most of them by heart because I have used them as excuses in the past myself.

To be honest though, the reason we don't want to help out with things like nursery, VBS & other family life events is that we often don't see it as our job.  We don't want to do it.  Dancing silly dances, working at craft stations & talking to puppets doesn't seem to fit neatly into our job description.  Aren't we better off providing for our families at work, fixing the running toilet in the hall and changing the oil in  the minivan?  Without question our wives and kids need us for all those things.

But more than that they need us to be the spiritual head of the home.  I have failed so often at that, the most important of all the things on my honey-do list.  Leading the home doesn't just mean saying a prayer before dinner or making sure the family gets to church every Sunday morning.  It could mean dancing an embarrassing jig.  It could mean making yourself vulnerable in front of a sanctuary full of kids.  It could mean taking a day of vacation so you can laugh at corny jokes told by a puppet.  

I was amazed this week at the number of kids who opened up and reached out to the dads who were volunteering.  They wanted to sit next to us & tell us stories.  They wanted to hold our hands & have us explain Bible stories to them.  They wanted to laugh at our antics.  Our kids are desperate for men to step up.  Nearly begging us to let our guard down and show them in a tangible and sometimes crazy way that we love our God.

The point isn't that you have to volunteer at VBS to be a good dad.  If that was the case I would have failed the past 8 years of fatherhood.   All I ask is that we take a chance and do something that the rest of the world doesn't consider to be our job.  Maybe something out of our comfort zone.  Lets dance at VBS.  Change a diaper.  Rock a baby in the nursery.  Lead a group of 6 year olds in prayer.  Lets be silly for Jesus.  I know our kids, our church and God will all be smiling.

The running toilet can wait.

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