"No? You didn't have fun? Oh, I'm sure you did! You always have fun in church! Didn't you go outside?"
"Well, wasn't that fun?"
A week earlier I caught myself having a similar conversation with a student from my 3rd grade Sunday school class. I was in the hallway visiting with her and her mother. Before I realized what I was doing I asked, "Did you have a good time in class today?" It was our first week with this group of 3rd graders, so I was curious about her reaction to the class. Still, immediately I realized that the question itself didn't match my priorities.
My student graciously nodded her head that yes, she did have a good time. But I decided to correct myself.
"I'm glad you had fun, but actually that's not my first priority. My first priority is to teach you about God." I smiled at the two of them. "I'm really looking forward to our year. We're going to be detectives and solve the mystery of Christ's death."
Remembering this conversation as I heard the dad and his boy, I thought about the subtle ways we contradict our own convictions. Like me, that dad probably wants very much for his children to know Jesus and that is one of the reasons that he is in church. And yet, we as parents are in such a habit of asking our kids, "Did you have fun?" that we don't even realize we are reinforcing the wrong idea.
No one wants church to be a turn off for kids, but it isn't meant to be about entertaining them either. As we walked out of church last Sunday, the sermon about worship was fresh in our memories. Our pastor hammered in on the idea that worship is not about pleasing the congregant, it is about pleasing God.
After-church conversations aren't always easy. We ask, "What did you learn about God?" and often the kids give a less-than-thrilling response. Still, we need to fight the urge to wonder if they are having fun and we need to resist the idea that the level of "fun" that they enjoy at church is a helpful measure of the value of the morning.
What do you ask your kids as you head home after church? Are you intentional about following up on what they are learning about God?