As most families filed into a pew at church on Sunday mornings, my family slid tokens into video games at Chuck E. Cheese's.
We had implemented a reward system where my sons earned tokens throughout the week for good behavior with the promise that we would go as a family to spend them when the weekend arrived.
We always found ourselves taking them on Sunday mornings because we had the run of the place. My husband and I jokingly called it "Chuck E Cheese Chuch." The boys loved the family time and ran from game to game, collecting tickets and smiling from ear to ear.
Despite the joy I felt chasing my children through the arcade, I couldn't run from the guilt that we should have been taking our children to church on Sunday mornings instead.
I grew up going to church and have fond memories of listening to Bible stories in Sunday School. I felt secure as a child because of the moral foundation built there and had always assumed that I'd provide the same path to spiritual growth for my future children.
Imagine my surprise when I fell in love with a non-religious man. He had gone to church as a child but was turned off by religion as an adult. When we met, I had strayed from the church but suspected that I might want to find my way back when I had a family of my own.
I told him this before we married and we reached an agreement that he'd give his blessing for me to take our children to church but that he more than likely would't go. We both knew what we were getting into when we tied the knot.
I didn't expect that I'd want him to come to church with us. The idea of my husband being the spiritual leader of our family popped into my mind the moment I saw him hold our first son. I knew that I didn't want to take the kids without him, I wanted us to all go together. However, I also knew that it wouldn't have been fair to ask that of him after our agreement. Church should be a blessing to our family, not a fight between us.
So, I silently prayed about it. Often times, as we drove to "Chuck E Cheese Church," I prayed that we would one day spend our Sundays at church instead. I prayed this silent prayer for years and had complete faith that it would one day be answered.
Recently, my husband's heart softened to the idea and I was shocked when he turned to me out of the blue and announced that he wanted us all to go to church. My silent prayer had been answered. Now, on Sunday mornings, we put on our best clothes and file into a pew at church to worship as a family.
Watching my sons shake hands with the people around them during the greeting makes me feel a sense of fellowship and community. Reaching over to grab my husband's hand while we sing hymns makes my spirit soar. We found our way there without one single fight and it has been such a blessing to our family.
Do you think that it's important to take children to church? Do you and your partner share the same view when it comes to religion? If not, how do you handle it? Please share your thoughst and experiences in the comments.