Does being Intergenerational mean some topics are off limits?

Looking ahead at the lectionary I noticed there are a few difficult topics coming up in the next few week.

How do we deal with the difficult issues or stories when there are children in the congregation. Do we put the ideas or stories aside and fail to address them because they are not socially acceptable or may be disturbing for some members of the congregation.

Or do we plough on indiscriminately. And what do we do if there are children listening in?  If we do not address, unsavoury issues, unsocial or difficult issues than whose voice will our children be hearing about these topics?

With all the buzz about intergenerational and worshipping with children, do we only deal with the “kid friendly” topics when we are being intergenerational?

Or by discriminating between child and adult friendly topics and ideas are we all ready distorting the concept of intergenerational worship?

With all the talk about protecting our children, surely what they are listening too becomes part of that area of protection.

As is often the case there is no easy or one size fits all answer. Having worked in a fully integrated traditional intergenerational worship situation, my experience has told me that children will hear what interests them, and very successfully screen out the rest of the service. But this does not allow us to discuss all topics freely. We, as adults, also need to be discriminating when we talk with children around us.

We know that children can become desensitised, or stressed easily and it is not in anyone’s interest for that to happen. The age and stage of the child makes a huge difference too in knowing what to say. The under 3’s are learning language and are not ready yet to understand the pro’s and con’s of a situation.

While it may be important that a teenager or young adult has the space to explore new ideas and disturbing content, but never without the consent of their parent or guardian.

Nor do we want our young to feel that morality does not have a faith component.

As we tip toe through this fast running current of ideas and stories, it is difficult not to be splashed by the fallback of opinion surrounding our decisions. We have to be confident that we have not closed doors that should be open or disturbed or distressed unnecessarily, those we need to care for. Being able to explain your reasons is a small outcome for the privilege of sharing deeply our faith, and the rules of conduct and child safety are scaffolding necessary to protect us all and guide our decisions.


Wendy L.


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