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Saturday, July 16, 2011
Children in Church
When I was growing up I saw plenty of children in church, children of all ages. There was no such thing as a cry room at our parish. If a kid acted up that badly, I suppose you just took them outside. But I can’t remember my mother or any of the other mothers I knew taking a kid outside. So when I moved to Oklahoma it seemed strange to me that in other churches children would be sent to the nursery. In my mind I did not understand it. How was a child to learn about God by going to the nursery? How was the child to learn how to behave in church if they are not in church with the family?
A child learns mostly by doing. In going to church and attending mass with the family. I always find it interesting that in some churches children are expected to go to the nursery and come out at age 5 or so knowing how to behave in church. It is my belief that children belong in church with the family and will learn to behave through practice.
I am happy that we attend a church were children are the norm. We know and appreciate that they will have problems from time to time, we look out for each other’s kids and each other and are happy to support the other parents when there is a parent out of town. Since our kids were old enough to go to church, sometime after 6 weeks, we have always taken our kids to church with us, the only exception being when a kid was sick. Then one of us would stay home with the sick kiddo. Usually me. Because my husband is on the altar, the kids sit with me or now that they are a bit older sometimes with friends. Living out in the country, Church is the only place they see some of their friends.
Children can be noisy creatures. My oldest, even as a baby, often had the need to sing in church. Sometimes the song would be over but not her singing. It was on one of these occasions that a parishioner told me not to worry , because in the Lord’s Eyes “ the sound of children in church is second only to the angels..”
Our children need to go to church and been in church with us. They need to attend mass with us. If they are always sent to the nursery how can we expect them to know how to behave? If we do not take them to church, how do we expect them to go to church when we are not there to take them?
For without children in church, our church has no future. Did not Jesus himself ask us to come to him like the the little children? We all need to be more like them and trust that God knows what is best.
How do you deal with children in church? Do they attend with you or are they off in Sunday School, or Kids Church? What are some of your strategies for Surviving Church with kids? I would love to hear your comments on this topic.