Parents and young children are such a great asset in the church.
What you do is something really important. I’ve raised three children myself so I know it’s not easy. I know sometimes you may come to church already tired. Parenting can be tiring!
Sometimes during the church services they are being rocked and bounced, or shushed and maybe taken out when there is an aroma filling the air!
Some of us feel awkward when our child cries or makes a loud noise so we reach into our bag of tricks to hopefully keep them quiet.
This can make you feel everyone’s eyes on you. The reality is they aren’t, but I know it can feel that way.
Is this worth it? Why do I bother? Do I distract others? You may ask these questions on a Sunday, especially when you leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But again, what you are doing is so important.
When young families are in church to worship we are a community where all are welcome. When I see these little ones my heart has the hope that these seats in 10 years will be filled with those that were once children but are now able to fully appreciate and participate in the worship. I know that they are already learning how we worship now and seeing how important worship time is.
I get great joy and pleasure sometimes seeing a little one singing along to a song that they know.
Families really matter to me. It is important for the congregation to know that we care about families.
It’s important that the children learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith and that everyone is valued and that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are valued right now as members of the church community. They don’t have to wait until they can believe, pray or worship in a certain way to be welcome. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of the church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their struggles to be quiet at the right time; that we are glad because it means they are present.
I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family — with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy — are highly valued. You are a vital part of the Church's worship.
Three cheers for the mums and dads!