My daughter took her shirt off at hole number fifteen. This was her inaugural golf outing. She was hot and flirting with boredom.
I did not tell her it was against golf etiquette to go shirtless. Or climb on the cart. Or talk during a tee shot. Etiquette is for country clubs and fancy restaurants. She was enjoying nature with her dad and Papa, two brutes with clubs attacking a little white ball.
Her highlight was spotting a frog in a dirty stream. Her highlight was riding on the back of the golf cart. Her highlight was a package of M&Ms and pressing the GO pedal.
Earlier in the day we had been in church together. Claire was tired and flirting with boredom. She spread herself listlessly across the chairs during the worship music. Margot kicked chairs and clung to her mom's side. I didn't tell them it is against church etiquette to kick or sprawl about in church. At least they kept their shirts on.
Their highlight was eating donuts. Their highlight was dancing in the aisles. Their highlight was making paper crowns and chasing one another through crowded hallways.
Singing praise and playing golf with my children is a hilarious lamentation. I love the inclusion and teachable moments, but finding that line between permission and enforcement is slippery. And singing about the love of God while suppressing my parental wrath ruffles my theology.
In the end, I suspect golf and church have too much etiquette. The point is to enjoy the game.
Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism).