Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Can The Church Learn From Club Med?

I love my kids and  I love other people's kids. I believe children are a heritage of the Lord - a blessing to be highly valued.

Although our children are precious treasures, there are times that everyone needs to be away from kids -- their own, or other people's.

This week was one of those times for Larry and me. One of the reasons our marriage has lasted for 25 years is, we prioritize time for the two of us, without our children. We need this for the health of our relationship. My favorite part of this week were the "adults only areas" of Club Med. They were really strict about it -- no exceptions. The church could learn a lot from this! 

When you go away with your husband or wife, private time in your hotel room is a given. But what about the other times? Sometimes you want public-private time with your spouse, as much of an oxymoron as that seems.  And sometimes it's about being in a setting where when you engage in conversation or activities, it's fully adult-centered. Adult meals. Adult conversation. Adult entertainment. Not that kind, but you know what I mean.



Club Med has adults only areas they are serious as a heart attack about, and I love that.

Love it, love it, love it.

One of my favorite public spots was the adults only "calm pool". It's on the opposite side of the property from the other pools, and I understand why.  Larry and I enjoyed our own little spot right next to the pool.  It was peace on steroids!


We rested here, while servers brought us chilled slices of fresh fruit, and endless cold sodas. We sat in the quiet...and said nothing at times. We read in silence. We talked in soft tones and held hands. Heaven - that's what it was. We heard no clanging spoons and no request to re-fill sippy cups. We heard no crying. No one was running around. There was no pushing or jumping or splashing or squealing. It was serene.

In reviews online, some parents complained about the distance from the family pool to the adult pool, but I totally get why Club Med set it up this way. If both pools were right next to each other, kids would run from the family pool to the adult pool and yell over the fence to their parents. Thus the calm would quickly cease. 


Club Med also has an adults only dining room. Not even nursing babies are allowed in this area. My beloved and I spend every single meal -- breakfast, lunch and dinner --  at a table for two, looking into each others eyes and having in depth conversations.  It was heaven! Then we went outside each night to our own little private outdoor bed and watched the sunset.

It was so quiet we could hear the birds chirping, and fish jumping and I could even hear my husband's heartbeat as I lay my head on his chest.

I know this will be controversial to some that I say this, but I'm never one to shy away from a speaking truth. The church can learn something from Club Med.

I love kids. And one of the best things for kids is when healthy adults lead them.

I've been a pastor/pastor's wife for 25 years. It has been almost impossible for me to plan an event for the last 25 years where someone didn't ask me to break the rules regarding bringing kids to adult- only events. This holds true  whether they be "girls nights out" for ladies, or couples events, or adults only  dinners/ministry. My husband has even faced this problem with men's events!

People tend to get bent out of shape when you hold to the adults-only expectation. I'm not saying we should have an overkill of adult only events, in fact I've tried to plan just a few per year, but always, without exception, had issues. 

I wondered if I was alone.

Recently I sent a private Facebook message to about 10 of my pastor/pastor's wife friends. I asked them if they faced the same thing and wanted some ideas about how to respond. Every single one of them said they face this problem.

Some church folks would say, "well, that's why there needs to be child care for events."

I understand.

For many of our events years ago I actually hired professional licensed child care workers from outside the church to come in and do child care for events so all of our people could come, and no one would be working at an event. One time I hired registered nurses to come in. You can't get better top of the line care than that!  And each time I still had people wanting to break the rules.

I've found there will be someone who will want an exception no matter what you provide.  

Some people want to bring their child into the event saying that they don't do well with people they don't know (even nurses and other such qualified people) and are were more comfortable keeping them with them. Sometimes the excuse will be, "I'm breastfeeding." (I nursed too but that was what a pump was for - when I went to "adults only" occasions, pumped bottles really came in handy!) Some say their kids are so well behaved and other adults in attendance don't mind helping to care for them at the event.  Some bring their older (pre-school or elementary age) kids for whatever reason even when asked not to and this really puts a leader in a very  uncomfortable spot. 

When a church leader/event organizer holds firm to the "no children at the event" rule they are perceived as having no grace. Sometimes it really causes a conflict. 

What do I think the church can learn from Club Med?

Kids are a priority at Club Med. There are all special events and areas for them, and for them to experience with or without their parents. They are not left out or uncared for. They are valued.

Adults are a priority at Club Med. There are special events and areas for them. And, on the things that are "adults only" Club Med does not budge one iota that it will remain adults only. And they really don't care if somebody gets mad. It just is what it is.

This week I had some of the most peaceful times I have ever had. It was such wonderful time with the one I love - a time that helped us to move forward in our ever growing relationship. 

I realize the church is not a hotel or resort nor are we supposed to be. I'm just saying when we have specialized ministry for married couples, or for men and women to grow as individuals and couples, would it not behoove us to create and hold fast to an atmosphere that is conducive to that?

I can't help but wonder...why can't we have this in our churches just once in a while?

Is it really too much to ask?

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