|Courtesy of Gennadij|
CHILDCARE. More and more churches are including them in their ministry - the larger the church, the more likely they are to exist these days. While I agree that it might be good for infants to be temporarily taken out from the sanctuary when they become overly distracting, I don't think taking them to a childcare room for the whole service is helpful in the long run.
1. If your child never sits with grown ups, how will they ever learn to behave as one?
They attend school most of the week with tons of peer pressure & very few adult role models. We then like to allow kids as old as preteens and such to go off to "Children's" or "Youth Church" while we fellowship during the weekend (This is not to be confused with a breakout session for kids during Sunday School, where everyone afterwards congregates together for the main Word). When are they actually seeing how you, their parent is behaving? When are you taking the time to show them how to be an adult? Do you really think they are listening when you "instruct" them? No, they are more interested in watching behaviors- as most humans learn by experience or my mimicking. Stay-at-home-moms may see this clearly when their perfectly behaved child goes off to school for the first year, and comes back like a totally different child; complete with new unattractive learned behaviors. If all they are around are other children, they will never learn to behave as an adult. You need that balance - time spent with children and with adults, so they can learn to reason when to use certain behaviors, and when its inappropriate. Church is a great way to begin that. Take a quiet toy/tablet for your child if they are super young and need to have their attention caught. Just show them the importance of being quiet in certain settings, and that you love them enough to keep them by your side as much as possible; which brings me to the next point.
|Courtesy Of Honey Onshawee|
2. It's YOUR responsibility to rear this child. Having them in daycare during the week while you work is an evil most working-class parents simply cannot avoid. But having them there while you praise God is totally avoidable! People have asked me how my son is so behaved during the adult church services and at the movies (See my post on how my son has been movie-going without disturbing others since he was a couple months old), and I answer that it's learned behavior. According to Galations 5:22, two of the fruits of the spirit is longsuffering and faith. I utilized the patience it needed to guide his behavior through the Screeching phase. It wasn't easy, and even my husband had doubt, but my faith saw us through. We as parents talk about how smart our babies are, but then stifle their abilities by underestimating them. My son as an infant may not have understood the words I was using , but he fully understood the tone. I regularly spoke to him with joy and gentleness when he displayed good behavior, and used a more stern tone when his behavior went south. He sensed something was different with me - because instead of always handing him off to someone else, HE'D BEEN AROUND ME LONG ENOUGH TO DISCERN MY MOODS.
Don't get me wrong, I'd never yell at an infant.. so I kept the same volume, but only changed the seriousness of my tone. You know your child notices, because they stop temporarily to look at you after your tone changes. They scan your face to interpret what's going on. Most try the disruptive behavior again shortly after... That's when you reinforce your serious tone again (and facial expression) to show them you're disappointed. When your child is with you long enough to desire love, respect, and affection from you, you'd be surprised what they do to earn it. Even at an infant age.
Don't worry about those families that may judge you for starting the process of integration earlier than they'd do it. Those are the ones, like the man touching me at my church, that are ADULTS TALKING while the pastor is giving the message - which can be even more distracting. Most speakers know that babies may coo or babble; and the good ones don't allow it to disturb their train of thought. You'll find that you can share more "family" time with your child, if you trust in God to give you the perseverance, love, and faith needed to begin the journey of teaching your child about God, and the patience that it may require to trust in Him.
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