Once again we drove home from California on a Sunday. I lost my purse, and we spent Saturday trying to find it with no success. So we packed up and left extra early Sunday morning, just in time to get to church in Phoenix suburbs. Last time we did this and found that it gave the children a good long break in the middle of the trip.
It’s not just for the break, though. We stop at church while we’re traveling because we want to communicate to our children the importance of the local church. We do this first by avoiding travel on Sundays, if possible. We attend services somewhere when we are out of town, and when we go camping, we come back for Sunday church. And times like today, when we really couldn’t avoid traveling when we did, we timed our trip around the services of a church we know. (Like this morning: we left at 4:00am; It’s hard leaving this early cheerfully, I can assure you.)
Practically, the children are nervous going into a new place, and the baby sometimes cries when I leave her in the nursery (although I usually tell the nursery workers to get me if she cries for more than five minutes). But I think our children are more flexible than we give them credit for. It helps significantly when we are able to tell them ahead of time what to expect, as much as we know. And we present it in a positive way, which so far works just fine. We have had a few times on the road where a child wants to stay with us during the services, something we allow if they behave.
It’s not a test of spirituality, of course. There are other choices we could have made, and sometimes it is not possible to stop during a trip like this. In a variety of ways, parents communicate what they value. But this is one way we’ve chosen to communicate something we value very much.