As we leave the parking lot of the church with our screaming toddler and fussy baby in tow, I ask myself why on earth do we bother? Church is for a lot of things, family time, alone time and of course time with God. But for us parents, especially those with multiple children, it can be another weekly chore. After we leave church on Sundays, I find myself exhausted. Every word, reading, thought we were supposed to take with us just escapes me. So why do we do it?
Well, the biggest and most obvious motive is faith. It makes us willing to endure the looks of judgment and the headaches from the constant sound of “no!” (whether from us or the kids!). I want my children to grow up believing in something, having faith that someone’s looking out for them, someone that is bigger and greater than us.
Church is a time for reflection which teaches my kids when to be quiet and respectful…well, hopefully someday it will!
My toddler’s favorite part of church is the collection basket. She loves holding the money and anxiously waiting her turn to put the money in the basket and pass it on. I love this! It teaches her to give and pass on and share what they have with others.
Community is obviously a big part of church and I like that we can expose our little ones to other types of communities or families. This will teach them about interacting with different people while hopefully building relationships with children with similar values.
Patience is certain to be learned! Having a kid sit through an hour long mass, wait in line for communion, and wait to even leave the church is a big deal! My girls are still working on this, but hopefully patience is a characteristic my children will have one day.
So despite the stares from our fellow parishioners, the inappropriate sounds provided by both my daughters, and even the cookie crumbs left on the church floor, church provides so much for my children. It is truly a learning experience. No one said it was going to be easy, and most Sundays it isn’t! But in the long run I hope it provides my children with great values and helps build them into happy, respectful, and caring individuals.