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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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November 16, 2008

The Children's Moment: A Chance to Mess with Mom

Each Sunday at church, the kids go up to the altar for a children's sermon. Sometimes, it's fun to watch -- especially if someone's kid (other than mine) is acting up or being silly. But when my children take it as a brazen opportunity to mess with mom, it makes me squirm.

Soon after she took up her normal spot at the railing and the pastor began his talk, Janine started taunting me. She stealthily held her wrist in my direction to show me that she was wearing my favorite bracelet, the one made with vintage typewriter keys. She opened the clasp, smirked and displayed it across her knee. Earlier that morning, I had given her the business for wearing my shoes without permission.

It took all I had not to yell, "That's MY bracelet! Give it back!" in the middle of the service. Throughout the pastor's time with the kids, Janine would look at me and chuckle. I spent the time in solemn contemplation of what I would do to her when she returned to the pew.

Once the children's sermon ended, she walked back and handed me my bracelet, knowing that there would be little in the way of immediate consequences from mom. She then spent the rest of the service on her best behavior and followed along with the liturgy without missing a beat.

Later that day, I asked her what she learned from the children's sermon. "The children's sermon?" she said with the look of honest amnesia on her face. "What are you talking about?"

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