As we approach the end of the calendar year, we start looking toward fall events and the days leading up to Christmas. Every day when I get the mail, my son excitedly asks if there is anything for him. The other day, he spotted something before I could go through it. A costume catalog! He has quite a vivid imagination, and it is rare for him to go somewhere without a cape, boots, or a special hat. So, a book of costumes is right up his alley! He immediately started excitedly pouring through the pictures. We are working on motor skills, so I suggested he circle any costumes with a pen that interested him. He dove in. As I looked alongside him, I was soon mortified. This catalog with pictures of children in fun costumes on the cover had horror costumes half way through it. Visions of people dressed up as images I do not want implanted on his brain. I asked him to borrow the catalog. I quickly tore out those pages followed by the too revealing costumes on the following pages.
This time of year can be a tricky thing for parents. I can remember dressing up (usually asking to get one more wear out of my ballet recital costume), and heading to the church carnival. I loved it. There were tons of fun activities, friends, and sugar. I now go to a smaller church which has many great activities, but a Fall Festival/Carnival, etc. is not on the calendar. So, what about all of the other churches in town? Where and what is a good and safe environment to let my child dress up and celebrate the time of year? I’m not sure what all the options even are. Sure, the philosophy of the church is “our doors are open”, but are they really? Will I feel welcome or will I feel like I have crashed the party?
Last week, I was on my drive to work and passed a church that had a big sign “Fall Festival – This Saturday.” Right beside that, in just as big of font “All are Welcome.” I appreciate them letting me know. I felt like it would be fine to attend as well as fun.
Are you coordinating an activity this time of year? What are you doing? And what have you done to make sure others know that all are truly welcome? Post signs! Put it on Facebook, Twitter, and your website. Just don’t forget those that don’t typically “follow” you. Find community Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to list it. Spread the word. Some of the difficulties of this time of year can be a great avenue to welcome new families in to your organization.