Monday, December 23, 2013

Parents, Please Remove your Crying Children!

Please take a minute to read this before you go to church in the morning...

We went to a great Christmas concert tonight! Since we were a few minutes late (shocking, I know) we missed the announcement to anyone with babies asking if they would please take them out of the room because the concert was being recorded and apparently they did not want crying babies in the background. Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong. Think about it this way... That little baby and his/her family may have had to juggle nap times and feedings, fussiness and busy schedules, last minute diaper changes, siblings who can't find their socks or who have emotional meltdowns as they’re walking out the door, phone calls and washed out roads, etc. It may be the only outing of the week for a mom and dad hanging by their last thread. The last thing they need is to be asked to leave when it may have taken them everything they had to get there. 



I never thought about these things before I had children. I never appreciated children. I never even liked being around children. It's not that I disliked children;  I just didn't love them like God does. I didn't really get it. When we are single, our world is pretty much just about us. When we get married, our self-centeredness starts to show its ugly head as we realize that opposites really do attract, and that God uses our differences to sharpen us and make us more complete, more like him. When we have children, all thoughts of self go out the window, and your children are your world - and that's the way it should be. I don't buy the garbage our world tries to feed us that pushes children aside so parents can pursue what they think they need to - always sending them away to play in their rooms or outside, or shuffling them from one sitter to another. 

Why don't we want to hear their voices? Why don't we want to see their smiles? We only have our children for a very short time, on loan from God. We have a huge responsibility to train them up in the love, grace and truth of God's Word. We need to discover (along with them) who God made them to be and encourage them in their uniqueness. We need to instill clear vision and purpose into their lives. We need to be with them to do these things, talking with them, listening to them, doing things with them. If we neglect our responsibilities or pass them off to someone else, our children will walk in darkness and confusion down a path of destruction all their lives.




So, the next time you hear a baby crying in a church service (or other public meeting), if you catch yourself wishing the parents would remove their child from the room, ask God to forgive you and change your heart about those wonderful little creations of His. You might even offer to hold that little one for a few minutes and give those parents a little unexpected blessing!

Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/ThingsJesusNeverSaid


Guest post by Amy Humphrey, and was not actually a post at all, but just an honest and heartfelt plea that she had written in a Facebook post after attending said concert.  Amy makes lovely handcrafted jewelry and bags that can be found in her Etsy shop and website, U.R. Unique.




19 comments:

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! Great post!

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  2. Great post!!!! We attend a very small church that does not have a nursery, so newborns right on up through adults all stay in the pews at all times. On an average Sunday nowadays, we may have 15 children ages 5 months through 13 years old. Our pastor makes it a point when we have visitors to announce what a privilege he considers it to be to have children in the pews and not sent off someplace else.

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    1. A s the pastor of a very small church in Deep East Texas
      I completely agree. We don't even break up our Sunday School time. The only thing I might suggest is that some pros on a different relieve the mother of a fussy child, not by taking him/her out but just by trying to pacify the child for awhile.

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  3. So right on, Amy :)... now as an older woman with grown children, I often encourage young parents to not be worried about their little ones when they cry. If it is distracting , yes, they should get up and walk around for a moment to help that situation, but NEVER should they be made to feel bad about something so a part of the culture of family!!! They need our help and affirmation.
    Thank you, Paula, for sharing this! Merry Christmas, sweet friend!
    Grace and peace,
    Jacqueline

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  4. Perfect! I love watching sermon videos & such with baby noises in the background. Wonderful post!

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  5. This is a subject that always takes me a minute to process. Our church (LDS) always has a combined family Sacrament service/sermon along with 2 hours of primary and adult learning...3 hours! :) I recently had a sister plead with me to leave my babbling infant in the service because she adores the sounds of babies. It warms my heart to think of the community that develops around this sweet babies. When there is an outburst, we step out in the hall for a short moment to redirect the baby and then come back in together. It was not until I was an parent that I realized that other churches do not always have family worship. It is truly such a blessing to learn and worship as a family. Taking our teachings and worship home to enrich our families is such an important aspect of our religion, that I cannot imagine it any other way. Very good post!

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  6. From one mama to another, thank you!!!!

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  7. Paula - After reading through many of the comments people have been leaving I just wanted to post a little follow-up here for anyone interested in reading it. You can repost anywhere you think would be helpful.

    The purpose of sharing my thoughts was not to address what to do with young children during a worship service. This was simply the context in which I shared my heart on our attitudes toward children in general, our own self-centeredness and our need to make the spiritual training of our children one of the most important priorities in our lives. God has grown my husband and myself in recent years and taught us much concerning these things. These are issues of the heart that the Holy Spirit reveals to a person who is seeking God's ways concerning such things.

    There are two items I will briefly address since they were concerns for some of your readers. First, I have a great appreciation for nursing mothers rooms and nurseries. It is a blessing to know a place has been prepared for those times when they are needed, and I have used them both. However, I do not think it is appropriate or encouraging to our brothers and sisters in Christ to ask them to take their children out of a service. Responsible and considerate parents will remove their children from a public meeting if they are being disruptive. They don't need to be asked or told to do so. I believe more harm is done than good when a parent is asked to remove their child from the room. Using the example of the concert we attended, after about 30 minutes our one year-old boy was getting a little restless. We got out the food we had brought for him and a few quiet toys. After another 30 minutes or so he was not interested in staying in that confined area and being quiet anymore. So my husband quickly scooped him up and took him to the back of the sanctuary. They quietly walked along the back of the room enjoying the concert together until it was over. If my son had gotten loud and disruptive, my husband would have quickly taken him out of the room for the benefit of the others there. And if he had then quieted down again, they would have come back into the room to enjoy the rest of the concert.

    Second, I greatly appreciate the hard work that goes into musical performances. Having played piano all my life and some flute as well, I have been involved with many performances, church services, and other things over the years and understand the time, commitment and hard work that goes into them. However, it bothers me more that children might be absent from these settings than present and making a little noise. I have a wonderful memory of my oldest daughter (when she was about 3 years old) as she would often quietly twirl around in the aisle, fully enjoying the praise and worship part of our Sunday morning church service. I would not have this memory if I had dropped her off in the nursery before the service started, and she would not have benefitted from being with her family worshiping God together at such a young age. It put a smile on the face of many of those around us as well to see her uninhibited enjoyment and worship of God. :)

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  8. Great post! I think part of the problem is the view that a Worship service is a "performance" for our enjoyment, rather than Worship of God. I understand that a concert in some cases is a category all its own, but as for the Worship Service (Liturgy, Mass, etc), its purpose is to praise & glorify God - and I tend to think that the children's voices are as good or better for that job than that of the best trained vocalist or instrumentalist.

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  9. Sorry, but I personaly know of someone that didn't get saved because of a crying child. We appreicate children, but when they are not even close to salvation they do not have to be in the service. Many many many times when the preacher was getting close to salvation, a baby would start crying and ditract him! PLEASE DO TAKE YOUR CRYING CHILD TO A NURSERY OR A CRY ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It may make a difference in someone getting saved or going to Hell!
    Please from a pastor's wife!

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    1. I am sorry for the heavy burden you must feel if you believe that getting someone saved is completely your responsibility, and that if you don’t do something right, that someone would go to hell. You can be free of that burden by realizing that we serve an all-powerful and sovereign God who actually doesn’t need us at all. He gives us the wonderful privilege of participating with Him in His work of reconciling people to Himself, but all souls are ultimately in His hands; not ours. He is more than capable of saving anyone He wants in whatever way He chooses. If someone only responds to an altar call by means of man-made atmosphere—the right music, convincing words, emotional appeals, etc.—then maybe he is not genuinely saved at all. A true repentance is a response to the Holy Spirit alone, and would not be thwarted by any distraction, let alone a crying child.

      The Bible is very clear that we should not hinder children from coming to Him, even infants:

      And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
      Luke 18:15-17

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  10. Love this! I never thought about this either until I had my son. Now if he's screaming his head off (which he did when he bonked it near the pew at our Christmas eve service) I excused us for a moment while he calmed down and there were folks staring at us all around. I gently but firmly looked them in the eye and reminded them this was a FAMILY service!

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  11. Our previous pastor used to begin each service by saying he loved the sounds of fussing & cooing babies and little voices while he was preaching, because it meant God was blessing our fellowship with little ones (...and there are a lot of little ones in our church!). We young parents were always so thankful to hear that each Sunday, and to be surrounded by fellow believers who shared that sentiment too. And our current pastor frequently invites little ones to join in the 'worship in song' portion of our service and he tells all of the young people 'whatever you attempt to do to honor Jesus Christ, I support you 100%' - we are so, so grateful to be part of a church that doesn't hinder the children from coming to Jesus. :)

    Thank you for sharing! I'm visiting from the Growing Home link-up!
    ~Lisha :)

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    1. We attended a church ( we left and still is finding a good church for us) , where we were ask to leave. It was fathers day that time and my husband was deeply hurt and annoyed. Our daughter wasnt even crying , she was making noises , little noises..grunts, coo's and ahh's. We felt humiliated and plus the fact that it was fathers day. The next day I emailed the church and told them how we were asked to leave. We were gestured , ( fingers ointed on us like we were kids in trouble) and we were not asked nice;y to leave by the usher. The first reply I got was on the ushers side and actually did more damage when he said thatthe usher is just prioritizing the people who wants solemn and quite moments with God. Our second email , I directed it to the assistant pastor , I told them we mean no harm or argument , we just dont want other parents to experience humiliation like we did. In short , the assistant pastor actually validated our side and we appreciate how he handles and replied to us. It is a shame on how small church that becomes big suddenly dont cater to family with small children.

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  12. I appreciate the sounds of babies and young children. Yes, we teach them to be able to sit, but that takes time and we should ALL be patient with the families that are still in that time of learning, which can take years. A baby crying is not a bad thing and no, unlike what one poster said, doesn't keep someone from coming to Christ. If their excuse was a baby being a baby, they weren't really going to make that decision.

    If my children cried hard, we walked out to comfort them until they were OK (diaper, etc). If they were just babbling, they stayed right there. There was no reason for them to be taken out. People cough, say Amen, whisper to their spouse about something they just heard that touched their heart, move around, get up to use the restroom, and so on. Adults aren't quiet, babies shouldn't be expected to be either. Great post!

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  13. I LOVE this!!! We used to attend a church where it was printed in the bulletin to take crying children out of the sanctuary, and it also asked for parents to sit in the back rows so the babies wouldn't distract the people trying to worship. It's never my intention to distract people, and obviously I want to be respectful, but I love your reminder that Jesus said to let the children come to him. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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  14. When I taught little kiddos with autism, we would join the rest of the school for chapel each week. I had children that loved the worship so much they would cry when it ended & loudly demand more (which I still think is so awesome!) and others who hummed softly throughout the meeting. The children around us knew my class & were never distracted, but the adults were another story. I had OTHER TEACHERS actually turn all the way around in their chairs to glare at my kids. Seriously?? After awhile I could no longer keep my mouth shut (I was pretty much a "mama bear" when it came to my students) & finally said, "Jesus said let the little children come to Me. He didn't say 'let only the quiet and well behaved children come!!" I didn't have any more problems after that :)

    My husband & I don't have children yet, but the churches we have visited (just moved to a new state) that I am most comfortable in are the ones where young children are welcome in "big church". Of course if my child began wailing uncontrollably, I would take them out until they calmed down, but to ask them not to be in there at all is not acceptable to me. Good post!

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  15. You are so gentle in how you answered the pastor's wife...I couldn't agree more. People come to salvation in prisons, on their death bed, while drowning...all pretty distracting situations. There are many false conversions set up by just the perfect mood...it is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are just the conduit used by the Lord.

    John 16:13-14: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
    Great post!
    Hugs and a blessing to you and yours~

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