Most parents (myself included) would love to bring their children to pray with them in Churches/Mosques/Temples (or let’s just call them places of worship). And I mean children here are those of the under-school age or below seven years old. The motive, is of course, to acquaint the child to religious gatherings and to inculcate in his mind the value of faith and love of God at an early age. Nobody would question that at this point.
But when the child becomes unruly, moves around, cries or do things that distract others, that is a different story altogether. The noble, moral and spiritual purpose of the child’s presence then becomes annoyingly unwanted by the other people around and sometimes even the parents themselves. During prayers, and other religious gatherings as well, there is just no time to admonish and calm down the child, otherwise you lose your focus on trying to commune with God or while engaged in profound meditation.
On the other hand, there are some parents who would insist that they just have to bring along their children to these places of worship for their own ‘compelling’ reasons. What better training and acquaintance would there be to moulding the moral and spiritual dimension of the child’s being than making him go through the actual experience in actual situations. And this is where debating the issue becomes discomfited sometimes. Nevertheless, there is sense in emphasizing the fact that there are pros and cons in this issue which are worth laying down here so that they become food for thought for us.
Of course, the more convenient answer would be something like this: “It depends on the child’s upbringing and behavior. There are children below seven who act more responsibly and can fix themselves up in this kind of gathering.” Agree. But there are also children in the same age bracket who act quite differently. In fact I have seen a lot of children who look like they are indeed responsible and willing to cooperate before the start of the prayer. But in the middle of the congregation prayer they come out complaining for being sleepy or for other calls of nature. If we look at this, we will end up giving conditional “yes” and “no” for an answer. More than this, I am sure, there are good middle ground positions on this as well as better concessions that we can take either way. This is what we are looking for.
Having stirred up the hornet’s nest, let me just pause here to allow my blogger friends and faithful followers to share their insights on this matter. I love to be part of your comments and reactions.
That is certainly it. This kind of problem is non-existent for places of worship with ‘Sunday schools’. And it will come in time when both adult and child can go together to their place of worship.