Wednesday, January 28, 2015

church life for children

I have already mentioned that we have recently begun attending a new church in the city. Aside from enjoying the overall tenor of the Sunday worship time, it is the sermons followed by joining together regularly at the Lord's table for communion that have been a balm to our souls.

And while I am refreshed and invigorated in my spirit with each passing Lord's Day, I feel a bit of foreboding as Shane and I worship with our three children. And that unsettledness stems from concerns about the attentiveness of our children during the sermon, with especial concern for Seth, our oldest.

The church that we were part of since we have lived in this city and where our children were baptized and have spent most of their childhood, has two services every Sunday, morning and evening worship, with sermon lengths consistently passing the 45 minute mark in both services.

I only bring this up to say this, I fear that my children have learned that habit of inattentiveness or to put it more colloquially, the habit of "zoning out". And now, that we are in a new church situation with a new pastor, shorter, yet meatier sermons, my oldest especially appears to be in the habit of zoning out even though the sermons are only around the 30 minute mark and perhaps even less.

Shane and I have been worried about this problem for a long time now, but did not see a way out until this past fall when we left to join this new church plant.

So now I am confronted with the need for new habit training in this area. My options are a combination of the following solutions.
1) pray for maturity for our children in this area
2) remind our children throughout the week the importance of listening and following along during the preaching of God's Word.
3) ask for some narration later on Sunday from each child appropriate for their age and ability
4) ask my oldest to try to write some notes from the sermon (which he sees others around him doing myself included although I have the two younger girls to help my husband with.)
5) be intentional about providing an opportunity for our children, esp. the oldest to interact with our pastor frequently to foster a relationship of friendship and camaraderie
6) continue to listen to and discuss sermons at home when attending service is not possible.

I have reminded myself that because Seth participates by eating the Lord's Supper with us every Lord's Day, he should be motivated to listen carefully to the sermons because he knows what they lead up to, the celebration of communion.

For further reading I recommend the following links:

What Did Charlotte Mason Mean by 'Short Lessons'?

 "One of the things Miss Mason connected to short lessons was the training of the attention. Her thought was that it was better to hold a child’s attention for a short period of time than to give a long lesson and allow the child to build the habit of mentally wandering off in the middle of it. Children trained in these methods build up a habit of attention that can easily handle a 30 or 45 minute lesson when they are older." ~ Brandy, from Afterthoughts

Habit Training, various links can be found on this page about specific areas of habit training

As always, I'm open to suggestions in this area of child-rearing. I'm certainly not the only one who has been concerned about their children's attentiveness during corporate worship.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I enjoy reading your comments and try to reply as much as I can. Thanks for reading here.