Parenting rules get muddied when kids and a dog are involved

NEIGHBORS

March 29, 1994|By MAUREEN RICE

Now that I'm grown up, I know that certain axioms I held dear as a child are simply not true.

For instance, when I was young I thought the cardinal rule of parenting was that you should be as nice as possible to your children.

This, I was certain, would lead to a delightful relationship in which my children worshiped the ground I walked on, while I had no worries because all I needed to do to control them would be to say yes to all requests.

My children would never have to worry about mommy yelling at them.

My children would always have a smile on their faces, secure in the knowledge that any toy in the store was theirs for the asking and there would always be candy in their lunch box.

Now I figure that mythical mom would be known to her children as "the sap."

Now that I'm grown up, I've figured out a new cardinal rule of parenting.

It has served me very well throughout nine years as a mother, four years of volunteering at school and two years as a den leader.

And it worked well last week, too.

Consider one of those days.

One of those where all you can say as you drop off to sleep is that you should never have woken up.

I decided that the thing to do was to go for a walk in the park with the dog and the kids, smile back at the sun, and perhaps the cheerful pretense would become reality.

Off we went.

The kids were cheerful. The dog was happy.

The sun shone benevolently.

"Stay out of the mud!" I called frequently.

The dog did.

The kids didn't.

Finally, when my son found the ultimate mud, the mud lover's mud, the not-quite-quicksand-yet mud, temptation completely overcame his sanity and he leaped.

In his fantastically expensive shoes that light up when he walks, of course.

He tried frantically to free himself.

It's not easy when you're 9 years old in mud past your ankles on the side of a stream bank a mile from the car with two people and a dog staring at you.

I followed the cardinal rule.

The one that says, "Thou shalt not laugh."

That's not easy when your 9-year-old is ankle-deep in the stuff mud wrestlers dream of and he tells you, "I didn't know it was mud, Mom!"

Well, I was looking for something to brighten my day.

*

Sunday Dawn.

This has the ring of a new morning, with all of the promise of a better day to come.

This is the name of a musical group that plays, not in nightclubs, community halls or other dances, but in a church.

The songs of Sunday Dawn have been heard in San Francisco and San Antonio before their leader, Dan Foss, who originally hailed from Chicago, moved to Maryland.

"I love the name Sunday Dawn," Mr. Foss said. "I've played alternative worship services with other groups of that name for many years. When I moved into this area, I got together with Brian Repp [acoustic guitar] and asked around at the church, and found a lot of musicians and a lot of interest in an alternative worship service.

"It all came together, and we've been doing these alternative worship services for several months."

The group consists of Mr. Foss, who sings and plays guitar and bass; his daughter, Megan, flute; Mr. Repp; Ray Costlow, guitar and drums; Steve Oberste, guitar; Elwood Brown, guitar, vocals; and Robin Volkman, flute.

The musicians use a bass guitar, two acoustic guitars and two flutes to play traditional hymns as well as more contemporary arrangements during services.

Join the congregation of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. April 10 for the next alternative worship service to enjoy Sunday Dawn's renditions of "Jesus' Life," "Jesus Christ is Risen Today," "I Am the Bread of Life" and "Here I Am, Lord."

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