We’re not religious around here. When pressed, I say we’re spiritual. We believe in kindness and grace and love. Burning bushes and resurrections and water into wine? Not so much.
We keep this ugly secret mostly on the down low here in the South. Jesus is all around us here – shouted out on the raglan tee in the Starbucks line, the reason for the season running from October to January, and the rationale for everything from bathroom usage to telling someone to fuck off, southern style. Bless His heart.
Still, living where we do without a basic education in all things Bible is a bit like living in Texas and not understanding football. Could cripple a kid. It’s my responsibility as a mom to ensure my kids have some understanding of the culture surrounding us. If we lived in Peru, I’d teach them to make empanadas. Here, I send them to Vacation Bible School.
VBS worked well with my rule-following first son. He packed a snack, spent the week learning hymns, and said “God bless you” every night at bedtime for a month. My middle child had a different experience. Caden was five the first summer he attended VBS. I tucked his offering dollar in his pocket, rubbed the Pop-Tart jam off his cheek with my licked thumb, and popped him into the carpool van.
He come home that afternoon humming “Jesus Loves Me,” and I figured the indoctrination was going as planned. It wasn’t until the next night, when I was doing laundry, that I had a clue things might be taking a different turn. Checking his pockets (as all boy moms learn after the first crayon in the dryer incident), I found two dollar bills.
“Caden, is this yours?” He nodded.
“Where did you get it?”
“I won a bet.”
“A bet? What bet? Where?”
“I bet Morgan Lewis that Jesus wasn’t coming today. I was right so I got her money.”
Caden explained that each day, a costumed visitor attended the VBS class. Yesterday, when Morgan put her money on Jesus, the Virgin Mary attended. Straightforward win.
Didn’t matter. We’re now in the HOV lane to Hell.
My five-year-old bet on the second coming of Christ. He bet and won another child’s offering money. He took said money and added it to his offering which he brought home.
We finished out VBS that year with very strict, hissed-through-my-teeth rules. No betting. No betting against Jesus. Overall, limit talking – try to blend. Offering money in the dish, not your pocket. We never went back.
We’ve since focused Caden on science – a better bet for my middle child.
About the author: Kate Chapman is a mom and stepmom to six children, ages 7-15. She writes about her modern-day Brady Bunch adventures at www.thislifeinprogress.com. She’s a contributor to StepMom Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Stepparent Magazine. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding and watering the children and livestock, and turning off lights in empty rooms. You can find Kate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.