Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rock-a-Bye Baby

NOTE: In response to my Mom's Day Out? post, someone commented that I was being too hard on women who felt differently than me. Obviously we can't all agree on all issues. I write about what is important to me and what I believe. Maybe my posts will make you think, maybe they will make you change your mind about an issue, maybe they will cause you to feel even more strongly about what you believe (whether you agree with my opinion or not). Either way, keep the (respectful) responses coming!

I've alluded to the fact that we don't put our kids in any day care or nursery setting, even at church. I also promised to share my views on the topic.

One reason we stay away from nurseries are germs! I may be paranoid, but I can just picture the scads of germs lying wait on every surface. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of a particular place. It’s just that kids rarely use the same caution as (most) adults when they have a cold (or worse) so germs can be spread about easily. We also avoid fast food play areas and the pediatrician’s office for the same reason! We pass around enough germs in our own house that I don’t feel the need to pick up any more unnecessarily.

Another motivation for staying away from nurseries is that I don’t feel comfortable leaving young kids with someone I don’t know. They don’t usually feel comfortable with that either and I don’t believe they need to pushed into it. The time will come when they will welcome the opportunity to have some independence from Dad and Mom, but for now, we’ll enjoy the dependence.

That’s not all! Even at a church or Bible study nursery, I can’t be sure what they are learning. I feel responsible for what knowledge enters their tender minds and you can’t be too careful. Even good intentioned people can have a different Bible view than I do and I want to know what my children are being taught. A small child’s mind is a sponge and they are not yet able to discern what they believe is right and wrong. (That comes later.)

My main reason for not putting the children in nurseries, though, is that Brian and I firmly believe a family should worship together. Babies, toddlers, older children, teenagers—all can and should be included with the family in church. A baby might not be able to sing the words of the songs, but she can listen or clap along. Maybe a 10-year-old can’t understand everything the pastor is teaching, but he can gain more than you might imagine. The idea of separating the family at church is a relatively new idea and it certainly wasn’t a concept in Jesus’ time—how else was the young boy available to share his lunch with the crowd of 5000?

I know some people argue that if Mom is constantly quieting the baby and telling the kids to sit still, she is not getting much out of the service. I remember reading in The Mother’s Companion some years ago a point I’ve often pondered. The author said that sometimes when children are young, a mother may have to sacrifice what she feels is her right listen quietly in church. Her current ministry is her children and sometimes bouncing the baby outside the sanctuary door is what is required of her.

I will admit it has been discouraging for us in finding a church because most places expect children to report to the nursery as soon as they walk in the door. We had several bad experiences. Once, when Maddie about 18 months, she began to get restless during a service and the pastor stopped in the middle of his sermon to tell me that there was a "quiet room" she could go to. Another church welcomed us at the door and then (without asking) led us straight to the nursery.

Our views may not be popular, but we are doing what we feel is best for our family...and may you strive to do the best for yours.


  1. I admire your willingness to do what you feel is right in the midst of differing public opinion. I would like to do the same with my son, but our church has a televised/radio service that prohibits any "disturbances." We've debated leaving the church for that reason. If your church has children's church, how do you plan on handling that issue? At my church, kids aren't expected to be at "big church" until 7th grade! To me, 13 is a bit old to have to teach proper worship behavior.

  2. I remember being disappointed when I was younger because I was not allowed to attend children's church. Looking back, I think it was a great decision my parents' part. It is hard not going where your friends are going--whether at church or elsewhere-- but like other decisions we make as a family, we do what we feel is right regardless of the popularity!

    As far as not allowing disturbances during church, it kind of reminds me of the disciples telling the children to go away when they wanted to come to Jesus! (Please don't take that personally, Heather!!!)

  3. Enjoyed the post and getting to know your reasons. I agree with everything you've said. I am also enjoying your blog so much! I feel like I get to know you even better! Hope you're feeling ok and have a great weekend!

  4. Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting :-)

    It sounds like you and I have a lot in common! My husband and I too have been married for 6 years, we homeschool and you and I have children similar ages!

    I appreciate this post of yours as I feel the same way. Currently our kids are going to the children's church at our church, but that's a little bit of a long story. My husband and I would like to make church a time of family worship as well.

    We feel that it is our responsibility to teach our children about family and about God. Meaning that it is not a church's responsibility to instruct our children, but ours. And it is not our church's job to teach our children how to be a part of a family (such as sitting with your family during church) but our job.

    I just bought a new book on this concept and my husband being in leadership at our church is hoping to introduce and teach on the topic and bring children back to their families into the main service :-) we'll see how that goes!

    Nice to "meet" you!

  5. I really love your views!! We do put our child in the nursery at church, but we also go to a small-ish church and pretty much personally know all the nursery volunteers. I'm starting to think twice about it though for the germ reason. Almost every week Tornado gets sick after being in the nursery... and now it's turned into pneumonia. :(

    I would love to keep my children in church with us... and we have a church that would support it too (we have a really great church), but my husband sees nothing wrong with letting them go to the nursery and doesn't like the idea of distracting others in the service. I've had the joy of having our 3 month old in the services with us these past months since we've been back because My Beloved has been working weekends.

    As much as I love and agree with the things you've said, I know you'll agree with me that honoring our husbands comes before our children. I just have to remember that God is just as pleased with me for that as he would be if I had my children in the service with us.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad I found my way over here!

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and playing along in the giveaway!

  7. I'm a little more relaxed on the whole germ thing, but I totally agree with having the kids in worship with you. Our church believes in this also, which is nice.

    Hope it gets easier for you!

  8. Both my husband and I grew up in our church, so many of my children's teachers were also our teachers. I understand your point though, and our church also has a "quiet room" adjacent to the sanctuary with speakers so that moms with fussy babies can still hear the message. I have gone there quite often.

  9. Well, I have heard both sides of the spectrum on this one, and my gut tells me to keep my babie with me. But I don't.
    I gave in when the peer pressure got to be too much.
    But, I am not sure it was a bad choice. My kids love being around other kids, and usually our church nursery is no more then 4 or 5 kids total.
    So, I think you have made the best decision for your family, I support it, and support you! Well done mom!

    Many blessings-


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