Mind the gap: to bring or not to bring children to places of worship


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.

About Maxim Sense

I hope to write for a cause someday but for now all I wanted really is to write for a cost and I haven't started yet, or better still, nobody wants to pay me :-)
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4 Responses to Mind the gap: to bring or not to bring children to places of worship

  1. Hello – thank you for following my blog, and happy “birthday” to yours! Mine is new as well. You certainly cover the gamut of topics! I look forward to perusing your posts

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  2. Another thought provoking post – and a difficult one – children and churches – especially when you don’t have any with you. At our local Church of England church we had a family service on a Sunday morning with children of all ages going out to Sunday School part way through – which allowed time for quiet prayer amongst the rest of the congregation. It was good to have the children but I did find it rather offensive when one Sunday during a service I witnessed a mother (who was obviously in the throws of potty training her youngster) whipping out her child’s potty from a carrier bag and then proceeding to place the said potty and child upon it in the middle of the church Isle!! That is taking ’embracing and involving’ the children in church life a little bit too far I think!
    When later in life I attended the Quakers (they sit quietly for a whole hour unless led to stand and speak at will) it was quite refreshing to find that the children were expected to sit silently for the first 15 minutes with the Adults before being led out to a Sunday school.
    Happy Eidel Adha

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    • maxim sense says:

      Yes. Every place of worship with Sunday school has less of this problem. I don’t know how they are coping up for those many more churches with no Sunday schools. It would be interesting to hear from them.

      Thank you for the greeting of Eidel Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). Happy Eidel Adha too. Most religions of the world know prophets Abraham and Ismael. Eidel Adha was about Abraham offering his son Ishmael when he saw in his dream that God was telling him to do so. I am convinced that this festivity is not only for Muslims (to remember or celebrate). Again, thank you for the nice compliment.

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