Since I can remember I always had to stand for the 2 minute silence on Remembrance Sunday, first with my parents and then with the Brownies and Guides. Buying a poppy and standing in respect once a year was something I was happy to do, and I remember fondly being part of the Brownies and that feeling of occasion and importance that would surround the Sunday service.
In our house the tradition continues; my children doing as I did observing the two minutes silence and attending parade with the Brownies, Cubs and Scouts. We stood for a lovely half hour as the winter sun beamed down on us at the memorial, the wreaths were laid a few words and a prayer from the Vicar before the stillness and quiet of the two minutes, broken by the traditional sound of a solo trumpet player. The children had a bounce in their step as they proudly marched down the lane following the brass band to Church. It was a moving time and respected by all who gathered.
My confusion comes after this. Having marched to the Church, the service is a letdown. Even the leaders agreed it was dull, so what hope for the children? My generation can still remember grandparents and great uncles touched by the war, for my own children it is just stories and pictures, surely we need to work harder for the children today if we want them to carry on these traditions. How hard can it be to give the service a relevance to their lives and talk at their level in their language too? The Scouts were behind a pillar so they couldn’t even see anything. I knew the answer before I asked my children what they thought. There are only a few major occasions in the year where the Church gets so many children in, I wish they could go all out to make them count. Our local Church in the Village is packed out for the Service on Christmas Eve, if only a little of the Christmas involvement could be included for Remembrance, I know the message is totally different, but the need to connect is not.
By the time it came to marching back to the memorial, the Army Cadets, that bit older still looked the part, but the Scouts and Cubs were looking thoroughly fed up! I captured this photo of Theo on his way back which says it all.
No I didn’t know he had taken bubble gum in with him!
Is this just my experience? do you acknowledge the day? How are you keeping it relevant to your children or have you let the occasion slip? Do you have to coax the children through a Church service which by choice they wouldn’t attend? I will continue to insist my children attend in the hope they will mature and the Church will adapt, but I fear they may turn their back on it all in time.
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