To Those Who Bring Small Children to Church:
There you are at church. Your baby or toddler is restless. Perhaps even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the church. All the while you’re a little embarrassed, maybe a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s no point in coming to church. I get nothing out of it because I have to constantly care for my kid.”
I want you – mothers and/or fathers – to know just how encouraging you are to so many. The elderly woman who often feels alone beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before. She knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear that brings back precious memories. Seeing young parents and their small children brighten her day; she may have just received bad news about her health but seeing the vitality of young ones removes – if but for a moment – her fears. The older man who always seems to be grouchy notices you too. He’s always talking about how children in this day have no respect or sense of goodness. But he sees you – a young family – in church every week. Like clockwork, he can depend on the sight of you and your young family. You give him hope that maybe the Church isn’t doomed after all, because there are still young parents who love God enough to bring their restless children to church.
Bring your children to church! If we don’t hear crying, the church is dying. As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement, and you’re starting off your children’s lives as you should. – Author unknown
Came across this beautifully expressed piece recently. Was moved to share it here. Have encountered this kind of approach to parenting in many cultures across the world. Not only in churches but where people are silencing self expression in their growing years.
And there is also the other extreme where whatever the child does is ok! That is the other side of the issue in question.
Yes I agree, we must ensure our children are well behaved in society as they grow.We need to help instill good values.
But there are cultures where if a little child speaks out aloud while traveling in a bus for example the mother goes apologizing for the sounds the little kid is making.
Extreme restraint restrictions, repriminding and silencing are negative reinforcements in suppression of self expression.
Yes there are limits to tolerating childrens tantrums, and bad behavior. Teaching them proper social etiquette is part of good nurturing. But controlling even natural things like laughter and speech can become a little too suffocating. What do you think?
Are you free at all then? Isn’t that a little too restrictive. I wonder?
What is life without a little expression.
Life is meant to live and let life live.
Yes there are stark differences across the world in raising children. To each his own.
Lets hope to share the world with them in positive possibilities lovingly.
Chances are they will hopefully treat you just as well in your old age.
Here are a few of my musings…
Life can never thrive in suppression
Or in denial and disapproval.
Or control and criticism
Choose to appreciate and approve
Let go of the nagging and niggles.
Let go of judgements, fear and worry
Life is in each of us just the same.
Allow life to live.
Engage with it lovingly
Life can be beautiful!
Live and let live.