Continuing on with sharing my Kidmin stories, I remember in 2004 when the church I was serving at had a visitor from southern Texas. Now please don’t think I’m picking on people from Texas, I’m just sharing what really happened.
This man and his family were in town visiting a realtive. He dropped off his 8 year old son with little fanfare and the service went about as planned. The eight year old boy seemed to enjoy the service that our team put together. We had a couple of our college kids back in town over the summer and they joined me in putting on an amazing program that day.
Well right after the service this dad found me and I could tell he was worked up. He started off in his southern Texas drawl.
“Are you in charge here?”
“Yes” I answered.
He introduced himself as a visitor from Texas and then asked “Do you really think it’s OK to have people with metal bits in their faces teaching my son?”
I froze in my tracks. I couldn’t figure out what he could mean. Was this some sort of Texas take on the “speck in the eye”? “I’m not sure I follow you.” I remarked.
He pointed over towards whe two of my young adult helpers were standing and mingling amongst a group of boys in our game room.
“Them, look at them!”
Well these two guys did have facial piercings and probably unseen tattoos. No one has ever complained because our pastor always talked about how Jesus embraced all people despite what they looked like or their background. I told him that we had no rules against volunteers having facial piercings, even though I know some churches do. (We even had a young man who painted his nails and was a goth in style, but loved Jesus. I was glad that kid wasn’t working this week, this poor guy might have died.)
Then he asks me “What am I going to do when my 8 year old son gets home and wants to get one of these piercings?”
Here’s where I might have messed up. I quickly reacted. I felt like he was attacking these young men who I considered friends and not just volunteers. He didn’t know them, I thought, so what right does he have to judge them?
“He’s 8 and you’re the dad, tell him ‘no'” I sarcastically remarked and laughed. I wished I could grab those words and put them back in but I couldn’t. He reacted as you could guess, I certainly didn’t win this guy to our way of thinking with my snide remarks.
I never saw him again and never did find out which family in the church he was related too. I can’t imagine that this would have made them happy either.
What have you said to a parent that you wish you could take back? Do you forbid people with facial piercings or tattoos to serve in kids ministry? Why?