Learning to Share
Without children's church or nursery, church services in an Akha village tend to be a bit nosier and more "active" than in America. Little ones roam about during the two hour long service, toddling up and down the aisles, playing as quietly as can be expected, sometimes sitting down to play a little game, or landing on mom's lap for a quick nap. Some of my readers, especially those with small children, may wonder how this system works at all. What I haven't mentioned yet, is the widespread use of bribery during those two hours. Every Akha mom makes sure she has a few sugary treats in her bag on Sunday morning to keep potentially noisy mouths busy with other endeavors.
All parenting philosophies aside (not to mention dental concerns), the candy does seem to accomplish its goal beautifully. As an added benefit, it makes going to church a really special event for kids who don't normally get the luxury of snacks.
Yesterday at church, I snapped this priceless picture of two brothers (ages 1 and 3). They were sitting quietly at their mother's feet eating their lollipops contentedly when they realized that their own lollipop tasted best just after they'd had a taste of their brother's different-flavored pop!