The Cost of Love
With the flurry of holidays behind us, many are letting out a sigh of relief after the exhausting travels, decorating, wrapping gifts, and a partridge in a pear tree. Yet, every year – we do this to ourselves… in fact, if you’re like my wife, you look forward to it… it’s your “favorite time of year” - why? Well, just like her passion for Sunday school, the answer is “love”. More than a mere “holiday”:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.
A lot of us will happily "exhaust" ourselves because we see the value of showing love to our friends and family - showing Christ's love to each other. To borrow from business economics class, we have a positive return on that investment of time, money, and effort.
Why, then, should we think differently about our kids’ spiritual education at Church?
If you haven’t ventured to guess by my name, I am the behind the scenes’ husband of the author of Bridges to Orthodoxy, Shereen Marcus, with a unique perspective of the love and dedication she pours into these materials week after week, month after month, year after year.
The question that comes up most often, which she kindly and patiently answers pertains to the cost of the curriculum… well, really, why it has a cost at all.
Oftentimes, when we hear that a curriculum for Church has any cost attached to it, we are “offended” by the notion... but here's the truth- we love you; we love your kids, we love the kids in your parish, we love the kids who have yet to fall in love with Jesus, and we love the kids who have walked away from Jesus/church/the Orthodox faith and whether they know it or now, desire a way back. Because we LOVE your kids, we believe they deserve quality materials.
And because I love you, I want to be transparent and bold.
Transparently: we bear the burden of this cost every year – we are not profiting off churches. I am sure no one who is asking this question honestly would expect us to bear this burden – so perhaps it is purely out of innocent naïveté that people do not realize the amount of time, the amount of resources, the amount of investment she dutifully and faithfully pours in to these resources.
But still – the second the question comes up – the second someone is offended, I become offended back on behalf of Shereen and the dedicated staff.
As a father, nothing brings me more joy than seeing my own children ask my wife to “do Sunday School at home” the times we were unable to make it to church for one reason or another. They don’t want to “miss out” on “what happened next.” In fact, whenever we get together with my nieces and nephews for the holidays – they regularly ask my wife to “do Sunday School” with them – because to them – it is like a fun game. They learn the Bible without realizing it. Our whole family has grown in our faith, and it is because of the investment and the quality materials Shereen and the team developed.
I was transparent, now here’s the bold part - are your kids worth more than the coffee you drink after communion? What about the toilet paper stocked-up in the bathrooms at church? Invest in them at least as much as the minimal supplies the church buys to keep the floors clean on Sundays. Truthfully, the curriculum costs less than those supplies per year!
Is the curriculum you’re using working? If so, then God bless you – continue using it because that’s what we all want. If you’re not satisfied, then it might be time to consider something different.
For those who say they cannot afford the materials, please REACH OUT, we will work with you to find a solution. For those who share the curriculum with other parishes, and those who “borrow” them from parishes who have paid, please know there are better ways to work with us and get what you need where everyone wins. We can’t ask for God’s blessings upon the kids when we take financial shortcuts and compromise our integrity.
NEW YEAR, NEW SCOPE!
Fresh off the presses! Take a sneak peak at the 2024-2025 New Year scope to see what new themes, retreat materials, and summer camps BtO has coming up!
Are you interested in helping your parish get an annual or half-year membership? Contact Us HERE and we can set up a parish account for parents to donate to get the membership for the whole year (or half a year).