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Lenten Meditation for Today: When My Four-Year-Old Taught Me Christian (and Parental) Responsibility

It was late 1991 or early 1992. My wife, Pamela, and I had been parishioners at Christ Church since early 1986. In our first visit, we were welcomed with open arms by Chuck R. and Tom M.

However, I must hang my head in shame to admit that I had not heretofore made known my ability (meager as it was) to play the guitar out of fear that I would be asked to play it in some capacity at church. Oh, the horrors!

That selfish attitude changed one morning in the parish hall as we were about to go home after attending Tom’s Coffee Crowd Sunday school class. Dear Ann B. and another parishioner were leading a sing-along with the youngest Sunday schoolers. Ascending the stairs, I turned around to make sure our four-year-old daughter, Meghan, was there. She was not - she had sat down and joined the other kids in the sing-along. She had taken the initiative to take part in something that I was trying to avoid doing.

Pam turned to me and said, “You know what you have to do now, don’t you?” At that moment I knew I had to do better. No more trying to hide the fact that I played the guitar. I had to be a role model for my daughter. At some point I asked Ann if she could use some additional help, and thus began a teaming that would last the better part of 20 years. “Thank you Lord for this this fine day,” “He’s my rock, my sword, my shield,” “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,” “Oh, Lord, Kumbaya.” What wonderful memories! It was only 20 minutes each Sunday, but it was a joyous 20 minutes.

It never dawned on me that I would later be able to turn this experience to my advantage when it came to persuading Meghan herself to give back. In 1999, we began our two-and-a-half-year “Sabbatical” (Ann’s expression) at St. Mark’s that lasted until early 2003. Our “sabbatical“ ended the morning we decided to return home to Christ Church.

As we were getting in the car, Meghan asked me, “Dad, are you going to make me acolyte again?” She had done so at both churches, and it was clear she did not want a second stint at Christ Church.

I paused for a moment, and then said “No.”

Her face looked greatly relieved.

“Go upstairs and get your guitar.” I got no argument from her, and for the next two years, she and I teamed with Ann at the sing-along.

So, thank you, Meghan, for unwittingly teaching me an important life lesson: to get out from under your rock and give back.

Submitted by Shannon


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