Thursday, July 9, 2009

Going to Church

We recently started bringing all four children into the worship service with us on Sunday mornings. For the longest time, we only brought two and left the other two in the nursery.

Technically, the toddler nursery at our church is only for kids up to age 2, but they kindly let us continue to leave our kids there even after their second birthday...WAY after! However, as their third birthday began to draw closer, I knew we had to stop. It just wasn't fair to the toddlers who were of the right age for the nursery to be in there with my big 3-year-olds! No one ever said a thing to us about it, but my conscience just wouldn't let it continue.

So we bit the bullet and went to church with all four kids. The first Sunday, we stayed for the entire service, and it was awful! I'm sure it seemed much worse to me and Jim than it did to anyone around us. It's always worse to the parents, no matter how many kids you have! The worst part of all was that it ended badly. The memory we carried with us as we fled the building as soon as the service was over was that of four simultaneous meltdowns because they couldn't have the same toy that the little girl in front of us had. It was an unfortunate way to end the morning. The whole service wasn't as bad as that, but that was the lingering memory.

After that, my friend Betsy gave me the idea to back off a little and work our way up to staying the whole service, so the last two Sundays, we have only stayed through the end of the Lord's Supper. After the contribution, everyone stands up to sing, and we head for the door.

It's been a little better. The shortened time is easier for the kids to handle, and therefore easier on us too. It's just so hard to keep four 3-year-olds entertained and moderately quiet for any length of time, much less an entire church service. And at the end, Jim and I have spent most of it either shoving anything at them that we think will keep them happy and quiet or whispering angrily at them to hush. We're mad at them and irritated at each other. It's not a pleasant experience for us or for them, and that makes us sad because that isn't what a worship service should be about.


Anonymous said...

I can barely get TWO kids to sit through church, let alone FOUR! I feel your pain my friend. This too shall pass, so they say:)


Anonymous said...

True -All of it. However, I would like to say our kids are not completely devoid of the importance God has in our house. When Thomas cries because daddy says the prayer instead of him, and then we let him pray he "Thanks God for our food" and then names every member of our family, and even prayed for Laura's lawnmower (our neighbor has had lawnmower issues.)
Then ends it with "We love you Jesus, AMEN!!" we are doing something, somewhere, right. IMHO

-the daddy_

Anonymous said...

At our church, the children are in the auditorium with their parents for about 30 minutes & then are dismissed to Children's Bible Hour where they learn age-appropriate Bible stories & songs, & the parents are actually able to listen to the sermon. This seems to work really well bc it allows a "training time" for the children as well as some child-free worship time for the parents. I think working them into this gradually is a good idea, but am sad that you can't hear the sermon. Can you hear it later on podcast?

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Keep at it! It seems like forever, but really it's just a matter of weeks before they get used to the idea.