Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just say NO @ AWANA

It was with a fair bit of trepidation that Stacia and Zander registered for AWANA. We've never done this program before (and if you want more info on why - read below). 

I was a bit overwhelmed with the chaotic atmosphere (so were my kids) but we quickly adjusted. Stacia was happy to find Elizabeth, one of  her friends, attending as well. We brought the girls home and Dawn picked up Elizabeth.  
Via Google Images
We asked the girls how their evening went. Elizabeth commented, "We only had water to drink."

This made vegan mommies HAPPY! So proud of the chapel for skippy the sugary snacks! 

Stacia  - ever the talker - further explained, "There were drinks, Mom but I knew it was stuff you wouldn't want us to drink." 

Dawn gave the girls a high five. I told them I was proud of them. I was so pleased...... and then the bombshell....

Stacia in all seriousness said, "The teacher wanted us to take a drink, but I told her my Mom doesn't like us to drink beer and says we should stay away from beer."  

ROFLOL  ::snort:: ROFLOL ::gasp::

I've told them I prefer they not drink soda and eat a lot of processed sugary snacks,  but when they are out it is their choice. I HAVE also explained, due to family history, our family chooses not to drink any alcohol at all. She knows beer is included in that category....and they had a nice selection of root beer.  Personally, I'm happy as punch if they skip the soda and sugary snacks that late at night. Water works. LOL

The revelation that ZANDER was the one who reminded Stacia of our "no beer" policy made this story only funnier.

I feel for the poor AWANA leaders.

Official AWANA logo
Backstory: Lest you think we are AWANA haters here's the facts. 

1. When we entered the chaplaincy AWANA would not allow chapels to use their program as they required "churches"ll to sign a statement of faith which a chapel can't sign (we are not a denominational church). AWANA has  changed their policy and many military chapels now are able to offer the program. This is the first time we've been assigned where the chapel program offered AWANA. 

2. We have young children, we have tweens, we have youth. Michael is a chaplain. I am uber involved in women's ministry. I have spouse events I could attend. I have civic events I could attend. 

3. Combine the above with the rest of our life and we COULD be out every night of the week. 

4. Over the years it's become our policy to limit our "outside nights" to one weekly event. This way if Michael is working late, or required to be out, I can still protect our family ministry. This maintains the viability and importance of the dinner table, our reading hour, our precious FAMILY  time with God.  We say no to many things which the whole family would not participate in which happen at night - kids' programs, various civic groups etc....it works for us. We have discovered we need to be careful of even "family nights out" as too many of those also impact our ministry goals within our family. 

5. When we arrived here we realized things could quickly get out of control.  PWOC, PYOC, PMOC, AWANA - all on different nights....We were also looking at Boys and Girls Scouts and CAP - make that 5 - 6 nights a week. We chose to allow the kids to attend PYOC as we felt our youth's needs to make connections with other Christian youth was higher than our younger ones' need for outside Scripture memory help. It was a good call for us. 

6. With the advent of CLUB BEYOND in Misawa three nights a week are needed for youth activities. This caused chapel schedules to change. PYOC moved to Wed night. Our kids will regularly attend Cross Training/PYOC on Wed night. This means it's ALREADY a  night out and the younger ones are able to attend AWANA without "adding" a night out. I'm not sure how this will work with school the next day but so far so good.

7. Michael and I have talked about my need to resist volunteering at AWANA....and if we both maintain this stance....we have, for the first time in 28 years of marriage, a planned weekly time slot where all the kids are busy and we aren't.  ::wink:: 

How does your family balance or regulate outside commitments with family time?  We are currently looking at another one we care deeply about which would require another "out" night....we had thought it could be something the whole family attended....not sure now....but praying it through. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Linda said...

When I was in Bamberg in 2005, that was my first experience with AWANA. Hannah was a 4 year old Cubbie. I somehow ended up as the Sparks Director (with no kids in Sparks, and no experience with AWANA to speak of, other than seeing it on some kids' t-shirts). Since it was the first time the chapel on post had ever had the program, we were all flying blind, but we had a very successful first year. I didn't realize that chapels on posts weren't allowed to have the program because of the statement of faith. I'm assuming that was no longer the case by the time I was there. Our AWANA program was held on Sunday evenings (at 4:30, if I recall) and we were done by 6:00) which worked fine for me and a 4 year old (Scotty stayed home with Dad).

When we moved to KS, all the AWANA programs were Wednesday night activities, usually starting at 6:30 and ending at 8:00. Since Hannah was still only 5, and bedtime was 7:30, I decided to forgo AWANA.

When we moved here, our church offered it. Since I was at the church on Wednesday evening for orchestra rehearsal, I didn't mind having my kids there (though, to this day, Thursday mornings are CRABBY mornings!).

Last year, our children's ministry switched from AWANA to DiscipleZone. It's a much more intensive study...my kids (Hannah, in particular) didn't like it. Luckily, Hannah has moved up to middle school programs, and Scotty has adjusted to DiscipleZone.

When you have too many things, and not enough days, you have to say not at some point. I think you've made the right decision.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Linda, I should have mentioned we entered the chaplaincy and first experienced a chapel being denied an AWANA charter over 15 years ago. LOL

Anonymous said...

SIS: :):):):):):):)

Love how our G'Kids keep you all laghing. So cute the stuff they say. Proud of Alexander and Stacia. love/prayers to you all. mom t.