Once again, you are sitting in worship or Bible study, and your child is restless. Perhaps they’re even a little boisterous and noisy. You try to calm them down, and things just seem to get worse. You try to pacify them with food or toys or whispered encouragement, and nothing works. You wrestle with them, and debate with yourself whether to wait it out or take them out. You feel like a distraction either way.
All the while, you’re a little embarrassed, and maybe a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s not much point in coming to worship. I don’t get much out from the service because I am constantly caring for my kid(s), and I know we are distracting others.”
Please know, as moms and dads, just how encouraging you are to so many. The elderly widow who is there alone each week beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before, and she knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear children in the assembly brings back precious memories. To see several sets of young parents and their small children brightens her day. She just received tough news this week about her health, and she knows her race is almost done, but seeing the vitality of your young ones takes her mind back to happier times.
The older man who always seems to be a bit grouchy sees you too. He’s always going on about how younger people these days have no respect or sense of respect. I mean, have you seen what’s on TV? But he sees you too as a young family in worship each week, and he sees how hard you work to be there. Whether he can admit it or not, seeing (and hearing) your noisy kids gives him hope that maybe the congregation isn’t doomed after all because there are still young parents who love Christ and His church enough to bring their restless children to worship when it would be far easier to stay home.
Keep on bringing your children to Bible class and worship. As it has been said, “If you don’t hear crying, the church is dying.” As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep and worn down from the week, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement to so many, and you’re starting off your children on a strong foundation.
Whatever we make time for is automatically seen as a priority. If we set the priority of attending worship for ourselves and our children at the time in their lives when it’s the toughest, it is far more likely to seem like second nature as they grow older and new distractions arise.
Young parents and their kids who are making the effort to be present each week should not be seen as distractions in our assemblies! In fact, their determination to carry on is a vital factor in the life and future of every congregation.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6 ESV