Some of the “strategies” I used to try to get my girls to come to shul with me this morning:

“There will be no computer time this weekend if you don’t come.”
“If you come with me this week, I won’t ask you again for another month.”
“I’ll give you extra computer time if you do come.”
“We’re going. NOW.'”
“If you don’t come, you will have to go to the dump with Papa.”
Finally, they agreed to accompany me. (It wasn’t the threat of the dump that convinced them. They told me they would prefer to go to the dump.) However, we clearly had not sufficiently hammered out the terms of  this agreement, since in their mind it only extended to entering the building. They flat out refused to enter the family service (which is actually a very well done, age appropriate program) and stayed in the hall the entire time. I was in turns angry, sad, frustrated and exhausted and definitely not feeling the shabbat love.
Until Kiddush, that is. We sat with friends, we ate some lunch, the girls played on the bimah for over an hour with a bunch of children of all ages, and then went home with one of their friends for a shabbat afternoon playdate.
This evening, those same shulophobic children reminded me to do havdallah, and then engaged their stuffed animals in a full reenactment of the story of Esther. (Scroll down for pics.)
I wrote some time back about our family’s habit of not arriving until kiddush. I had hoped that by the time my kids hit the ages of five and seven, they would be more open to attending services. They have friends are there, they know more of the prayers, and their attention spans are longer. As an added bonus, the shabbat offerings at our shul have improved.
None of this has made one whit of difference in their willingness to go to services. And I am truly stumped about how to proceed. On the one hand, I feel that I ought to be making them go. On the other hand, I have children with a real love of Judaism on their own terms. Maybe I’d ought to leave well enough alone. Maybe this is a battle I can’t really win.
Oh, and some pictures.
Vashti. Not sure why she is wearing goggles.
Achashverosh and friends. (Not sure why Achashverosh is wearing Ella’s underwear.)
The lovely Esther
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