Thursday, February 01, 2007

Time for "Much, Much"

(And can it be used in our congregations ...)

Kids go through phases. Now that we are parents of 4, when one of ours is going through a particularly naughty phase, we just look at each other and give the call: "Time for 'Much, Much.'"

This is our slang for "Much discipline, much love." It has been our experience that when you've got a kid acting out, the best way of handling it is two-pronged.

The first "Much" -- man, we are on that kid like white on rice. If they so much as roll their eyes, we're getting them back in line. We become little commandants. We want it to be real clear that their behavior tain't appropriate and it's not going to fly. Our normal flexibility takes a backseat. (This is all non-physical. Although, I have been told that I can give a look that physically causes a cold sweat to appear on the back of the neck.)

The second "Much" is just as important. Much love. Lots of listening when the kid wants to talk, lots of hugs and kisses, one-on-one time, etc.

So far, it works.

This is kind of an interesting idea when you think of applying it to church members who are "acting out." I'm not talking about honest disagreement, but rather the members who are behaving in an inappropriate fashion, via triangulating, being antagonistic, etc.

There are some members who come to our church and either they are hurt, or they genuinely don't know the appropriate way to relate to others.

They need our help in healing. But they also need to know that certain behaviors are not acceptable.

I know that I've seen my own church go both ways -- either tolerating behavior that shouldn't be tolerated, or coming down hard on a member with no balance the other way.

What if we gave them Much Much ... very clear direction as to what is unacceptable, but at the same time, a clear show that they are welcome and valued. Following up a "talking to" with an invitation to come to your covenant group. Or, "hey, you're coming to Potluck or Saturday, right?" And then the next time you meet, extending more attention. "How did your dentist appointment go?"

With kids, the big thing is to let them know that whereas their behavior might be unacceptable, they are very much acceptable. They are valued. They are loved.

I'm not a kid, but I know that's what I want, too.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Since you talk about behavior in church, have you heard about the rather Orwellian Wolf Warning?

I prefer "Much Much."

(I got the link from BlondSense)