Before I start posting about some of what I learned at the Carole Joy Seid seminar on Saturday, I had a few thoughts about the seminar itself that I wanted to share here. I know that many of my friends that read this are not LCMS and these comments may not apply to you or they may surprise you. Hopefully I can begin talking about what I learned at the seminar soon which will apply to you more. I think sometimes we get sheltered in our LCMS part of the United States and some of what I learned on Saturday had nothing to do with the homeschool topic.
1. I don't know if you can tell in this photo, but nearly every car in the parking lot was a family car like a minivan with only a few exceptions (including the car that I drove since I didn't have my family along). This struck me because this was in the Twin Cities where they don't "need" to drive bigger cars like we do out in our rural area. Most of the participants (but not all) were from the Twin Cities area. Most people drive a pick up truck or a minivan or a bigger car or truck in our area even if their kids are grown-this is because of the winter weather here AND they need larger cars to haul things home 1 1/2-3 hours from a big city. Anyway, most of the cars were minivan type at this conference. That tells me that they have larger families and probably much less contraception use than Lutherans.
2. Before the speaker started each session she asked a volunteer to pray. I listened very closely because I was determined to find something "wrong" with the prayers. You know what, their prayers were great. In fact the last prayer of the day blew me away. The prayers were for the speaker to do a good job, thanking God for our blessings, for us to be good listeners and gain something from the day to teach our children, for the speaker and her family including her son's family, etc. The prayer that really impressed me was the last prayer. The person praying asked God to bless fathers (especially the fathers of the homeschoolers that were there on Saturday) that even in this bad economy their wives would be able to stay at home with the children! Maybe if we Lutherans started praying like that we would receive that. As Lutherans, the pastor usually prays before meetings, but we should pray before each "session" of the day. Yes, the prayers were volunteers making them up on the spot. But what they were praying for-for parents, families, etc.-similar prayers are in our hymnal and prayer books-so you wouldn't have to make it up on the spot.
3. The speaker announced that the church they held this seminar at had a cry room. She made a point to say that if she lived in the area of the seminar she would go to this church because having a cry room is a good sign. Maybe it is a sign of rural churches, but I know that not all the LCMS churches in our circuit have a cry room. The speaker said having a cry room shows that children are welcome which shows that families are welcome and also that mothers are able to still hear the church service during fussy baby times. Now granted, cry rooms can be used the wrong way when the members want the mothers to stay in the cry room the entire church service, but I agree with the speaker that cry rooms at churches are a good sign.
4. The speaker encouraged reading biographies of Christian missionaries. She also reminded us to pray for our missionaries and pray for our government to make good decisions so we don't lose our Christian rights and our homeschool rights. I don't think Lutherans do this nearly enough!