JW Meetings through the eyes of a 4 year old
Over Christmas when we were having our family supper we mentioned that it was our 3rd Christmas and thought to ask the kids how much they remember from before we had the holidays.
Our oldest son vividly remembers not having Christmas and remembers how boring and annoying going to meetings were.
Our youngest is turning 5 and will grow up never knowing what a meeting is like or what it was like before we did the holidays.
Our middle son said he remembered the meetings and liked them. That comment both concerned me and puzzled me. I was concerned that he would have some lingering affection for meetings and later on seek out witnesses and get trapped again. The puzzling factor was he was absolute hell at the meetings, he wouldn't sit still, he would make noise and cause a fuss and I'd often have to drag him out of the hall or downstairs to try to get him to settle down. We would often leave early or I would be exhausted after from trying to settle him down.
Hoping to trigger a bit of the negative memories about meetings, I asked him if he remembered all the sitting, and fussing and boredom. He said he sure did.
Okay, I was now a bit more confused. I asked him if he liked the meetings so much, why did misbehave every single time.
"Because if I was bad, you'd take me downstairs. The meetings weren't fun, but I liked to spend time with you."
So I got conned by a 4 year old, but thinking back he was alot smarter than I ever was.
Children are so honest.
Well, in my day, I would have got taken downstairs and spanked with a belt! Then I would have gotten another one when we got home. Many a time I spent in utter terror on the way home from a meeting thinking about the whipping I was going to get when I got home praying all the while to Jehovah that daddy would forget about it. He never did.
Oh my goodness, that's a keeper.
You're learning a valuable lesson in how not to unintentionally reinforce children's undesirable behaviour (i.e.,your son knew if he misbehaved, you'd remove him from the meetings and spend time with him). While it's kind of understandable now that missing meetings is no big deal, there may be other areas in life where you need to think through if your repsonse to your children's behaviour "rewards"the wrong kind of behaviour. Our children teach us so much.
JO, to my indefinite shame, I used to treat my oldest daughter in a similar fashion.
What a fool I was!
Steve2: trust me, the meetings were the only place that ever worked. My parents used spanking with belts and would have "practice meetings" at home to train us to sit still.
I refused to severely punish my children for not having the attention span to sit on an uncomfortable chair late at night with nothing to do but listen to some boring speech about selling books.
On the flip side, even after he settled down I'd spend another good 20 mins in the library since it was stocked with litterature back to the 1890's. My wife would thank me for the sacrifice of dealing with the children and letting her take in her "spiritual food".
Used to irk me when a few self righteous witnesses would offer their own "tips" for my problem child. Ranging from spankings to praying. Ewww on both.
At least now they are going to be able to celebrate Christmas and birthdays. It is hell to have to go through childhood without anything but boasting sessions and field circus. And, having to be different at school--no association with worldly people, no parties, no being able to play during school vacations, no nothing.
That's a special story. I bet you liked going downstairs away from the meeting, yourself.