Pester Power

Over on the MDO’s blog, Anne brought back a flood of memories recounting the Sunday School stickers that marked attendance throughout the year.

Every Advent Sunday we were given a pristine booklet each page marked with blank rectangles and I seem to recall a bit of foliage.  Week by week the blanks were filled with stickers telling the story of the Church year.  As the year progressed the booklet got thicker and stiffer as more and more stickers were added.  I can recall pleading with my Sunday School teacher – someone who I still occasionally see – for a sticker that I had missing.

We stayed in a village and went to church in the town a short distance away, it was my father who took us to church – my mother at that time was an Easter and Christmas churchgoer only – however he also had to travel abroad on occasions and when they spanned a weekend my mother would walk us to church, she didn’t drive.  It was a little over a mile but because part of it was along the main road into the big town we were always accompanied.  This particular Sunday it was pouring with rain, now I don’t mean the usual west of Scotland downpour which we were quiet used to, no, this was more akin to a monsoon so we stayed at home.  It was extremely unusual for us not to be at church the blank space in my booklet cut to my soul, especially when I saw the picture concerned.  Are you ahead of me, dear reader, yes indeed it is the very sticker that Anne has put on her blog.  I had long strawberry blond hair and often wore it in pigtails, the roses matched the roses on the wallpaper in my bedroom, and to my eyes it looked as if Jesus was telling my brother to be quiet as Jesus wanted to listen to me, oh my!

In a simpler time when life wasn’t surrounded by electronic gadgets and a single sticker could have the impact of making a child pester her parents about going to church on Sunday from the second she arrived home from school on a Friday, I didn’t want to miss another sticker.  All these years later I had forgotten about that sticker until just now, I had forgotten about it even when I when I happened to be talking to someone about them a couple of weeks ago.  However, at the time it was those stickers that engaged my pester power and ensured that not only I but also my brother and sister never missed church again for a long time come rain, shine or monsoon! The challenge for the church today is what can it offer that will have the same response in 21st century children?

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