My wife and I cleverly decided to live in the same ward as my parents, so our small children only keep us from listening to about half of sacrament meeting. They were particularly well-behaved yesterday so I think I got in about 2/3s.
Reader Guy Crouchback has apparently left off being Catholic since his Sword of Honor days. He writes–
I follow the discussions on T&S regularly, though I
only post once in awhile. Because I can not start a
discussion, I thought I would email you about a
possible topic and see what you think.
A couple years back, we had a visitor at our ward – an
investigator. I’m not sure what has happened to him,
whether he has converted or not, but we did have an
interesting conversation one day after the service.
We have a young ward with lots of little kids, and
this investigator asked why we make the kids “sit
through” an hour(+) service. Apparently he has gone
to other churches where the parents are requested to
leave children under a certain age in a child care
type of room, while the parents and older children
attend the service.
Having a little one myself, I can certainly attest to
the distraction that the little ones create. And
coming from a ward with many little ones, it’s amazing
sometimes that anyone is able to listen to the talks
given. It’s frustrating when you have a particularly
good speaker, with a message you really want to listen
too, and your child (or the one sitting behind you) is
whining or crying or throwing cereal at your head.
It would be interesting to see what other T&S regulars
thought about this issue. Why is it necessary for
small children to sit through the sacrement? I’ve
heard the reasoning and policy from church leaders
before, and generally it’s not discussed much. But
I’m really curious what others think.
I love kids in sacrament meeting and I’d fight tooth and nail to keep them in. I like the family reunion feel that LDS meetings have. I like the way ward members get to see each other as families and parents. I like the way ward members get to see my kids and feel the same kind of responsibility for them they feel for me. I like the way it reinforces our message that salvation is by families, not just as individuals. I like the theology of being born in the covenant.
Although its a struggle for my wife and I, I think our children are learning about the importance of church and reverence much better than they might if they were kept away. Since I’ve taken to putting one of my girls on my lap during the sacrament and talking about it in three-year old talk, I’ve consistently had more spiritual sacrament experiences. Having student wards be noticeably more reverent and quiet than regular wards allows our meetings to make an extra spiritual impression during the spiritually impressionable years.
“Let the traffic of the world give way to silence and peace” is an admirable sentiment. But I’ve had a suspicion for awhile that in some sense the sentiment is more terrestrial than celestial. The problems that Guy Crouchback and his investigator friend identifies are real and I have no solutions. But I still want the kids.