My daughter has been so good in church recently. She is really a delight. If I'd known girls were so good, I might have had a few of them first! (Don't write me and tell me I have rosy glasses - I know... allow me this one minute of pure joy in a delightful six-year-old.)
She is still a beginning reader, so during singing, I put her up on my hip, like I did with my sons, and we sing together. She tries to read the words, but even before she could read them, she would just listen to my voice. She rests her cheek against mine and sings what I sing, just slightly behind the speed. I know - I'll raise a kid who can neither sing on tune nor with the rest... But to hear her little voice copying mine is delightful.
My parents decided to teach me to sing by humiliation. They repetitively told me that I could not sing on tune, and would have us sing all alone in front of the family if we were off, and scolded us for not doing better. I once almost got a spanking over the fact that I did not recognize the tune to "Jesus loves the little children" on a tape. My dad was sure I was simply being stubborn. In reality, I don't sing all that well. Later on, I figured out part of the problem. It was played on the piano, and growing up on the mission field, I had not heard many pianos. We sung with guitars. Yet, years of ridicule over my singing abilities took a toll and from the time I was 16 until 30, I only mouthed the words to songs. I had always laughingly told God that if I had a girl, then I would begin to sing. So with the birth of my daughter, I opened my mouth and began to sing in church and even in front of the Sunday School kids. I'm not the greatest singer, but no one has run screaming yet!
My kids may not be good singers, but I can make sure they love to sing. Their first memories of singing in church are going to be of being held, loved, singing cheek to cheek with mommy. Being smiled at.
Now that my daughter can read some and she knows many songs, she sings out loudly on what she knows. If she doesn't know a word, she will whisper in my ear a question about it. So not only do I teach her to sing, I also teach her the meanings of the songs she sings. She is a bit of a thinker, too.
Yesterday, in church, at the end we sang a new song. It was an older one with some of those old-fashioned vocabulary that she is not familiar with, so she turned her face to me. Quickly, I defined "supremacy" and "matchless" and went on to tell her that "saints" is another word for Christians.
Here her face wrinkled in confusion, and she grabbed my head to whisper in my ear. "Mommy, I thought saints were those people they worship on Halloween."
Ah, yes, them....
No wonder the thought of all the saints rejoicing was confusing to her!