Why Struggle with Young Children in Worship?

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬

Here we go again. Another worship service that I didn’t get to participate in. All they did was squirm and fight me the whole time. I didn’t get anything out of the service except frustration of trying to make them behave. Why do I even go? Why do I even try? Is it worth all this fuss?

Sigh…. so many times when my children were young, especially babies and toddlers, I had these thoughts. My husband and I spent many Sunday worship services tending to children misbehaving. With this and all the effort it took to even get there, going to worship many times just became an exhausting event. How easy it would have been for us to give up. We could have justified ourselves by our struggles, but then again, it wouldn’t have produced what we ultimately wanted for ourselves and family.

Though we had these frustrations, we knew we would never give up no matter what. We were committed. We knew exactly what we wanted and were willing to do whatever it took regardless of the obstacles. God had been merciful to save us not only from a life of sin, but also of the confusion of the religious world. How could we turn away from His truth just because things had gotten hard? Why would we not do everything we could to instill this same fervor within those we love most? How would forsaking the assembly of saints help us in our commitment to God as we denied opportunities to stir up love, good works, and exhortation? It wouldn’t, and that’s the point.

If you’re the parent of young children I strongly urge you to seek this same zeal. I know training young ones in the proper behavior for worship can be daunting. I had strong-willed children that required being disciplined multiple times during many services. What I came to accept was that this was my charge while they were young. Even though I may have missed most of the service, I did make a difference in each child’s life by teaching and adhering to standards our family had set in honoring God. Not only that, I myself learned patience and endurance to remain faithful. And, the encouragement we all received from so many other parents who shared their own similar struggles and pushed us to continue created bonds of love between us. None of these opportunities would’ve been there if we had decided to forsake the assembly because of unruly children.

So parents, in consideration of not only yourself, but of your children and your brethren, make the commitment to be there every Sunday with the saints. God has not just commanded it but has provided it for us to be uplifted by our Christian family. Don’t worry about your child being disruptive or a distraction. I guarantee there are many people who are inspired by you just being there in spite of any disruptions because they understand the struggle themselves. If you will allow, those seasoned parents can guide, counsel, and support your family as you do your best to figure out how to make this work. Now that I’m on the other end of seeing the fruit of our labor in having older children who participate and reverence God during worship, I can confidently say it was definitely worth going every time, worth not only trying but enduring, and worth overcoming every fuss. As a result, my heart is overjoyed as I see my Christian son partake of the Lord’s supper with his father and me and hear the beautiful praise in the singing of my daughter. You will get there too. Just keep at it to stay faithfully committed to what you know is God’s will and all will be worth it.

My God, You have saved me from a life of sin and have show me the truth thus I commit my life, and also of the children you have entrusted to me, to Your every way. No matter the added struggle children create in keeping Your commands, I will be sure to worship You in assembling with the saints every Lord’s Day. I know this is in consideration of my Christian family as we stir up love and good works while exhorting one another so much more as we see the Day approaching. This is the standard I set for my family because this is the standard that is pleasing to You. Thank you for these opportunities of encouragement and support and for the fruit that I see from my labor made possible by Your grace and mercy through Christ. Amen. 

Truth in love,

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