This past Sunday, my congregation participated in a camp and VBS worship. Throughout the service, we told silly jokes - the kids had great fun with this part: remember how a 4- or 5-year old tells a "knock knock" joke? The kids of all ages sang songs we loved as youngsters. We clapped and drummed and eyes twinkled.
More seriously, the sermon consisted of several snippets that I thought remind us why summer camping is so valuable: self-esteem increases as kids experience self-reliance; tolerance and acceptance increase as new friends who may be different colors or ethnicity become our "best friend" and camp sermons focus on care of the earth. All of these are foundational to the denominations of which I am a part: United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Because I thought it appropriate, I brought my Jesus doll to join our worship. During a children's sermon snippet the kids learned about the buttons the Jesus doll wears: "eracism" "Jesus was a low wage earner" a comma. I don't think I can get them to understand and then reject bigotry, hate, self-centeredness, narrow view of the world too soon.
I don't remember learning about hate as a child, but I surely must have. I do remember my father making derogatory remarks about certain groups of people and I knew then he was intolerant and wrong. It took a few years and experience for me to tell him he was wrong. He died when I was 34. I like to think if he had lived, he would have evolved into a tolerant man.
Everyone showed tolerance toward me when we learned that the ice cream I had gotten for the ice cream social that followed worship had melted because I forgot to be sure the freezer door was closed. We had whipped cream and cherries and chocolate sauce on soft-serve ice cream that was intended to be scooped ice cream. No matter. We had a great time - grins and laughter abounded. For most of us, life is good.