Monday, 16 September 2013

Why I'm glad my kids misbehave in church

Like many an idealist, I have an image of a perfect Sunday morning. It includes the mother, who, rising early, has time to shower and dress in her Sunday best before setting the breakfast table for the family. The children appear, well rested from a full nights sleep and take their places at the table without complaining. In a relaxed manner, the children are dressed, hair brushed, faces clean, shoes on and in the car ahead of schedule. The drive to church is pleasant and fighting-free. Children are polite to family and friends at church, sitting through the service without making a peep.

Ok, who am I kidding? This would never happen. At least not in our house. Sunday mornings are a rush of hastily downed cereal, chasing down toddlers to get dressed, tending to crying babies and trying to get everyone decent looking and in the car by 9:15 to make an hour long drive to church. And if we're lucky, momma leaves the house with matching shoes and no spit-up on her clothes.

Getting through the service is another feat. Easily distracted children with a short attention span, attending a service in their second language. Not to mention twins who used up a good portion of their morning nap in the car and generally need to be fed and changed. And did I mention my hubby works at the church and usually has responsibilities during the service?

But I am glad my kids misbehave during church. Ok, maybe not glad, but it sure helps teach me a few much needed lessons.

For one, it keeps me humble. There's not a lot of pride when you're on your hands and knees, crawling under the chairs to retrieve the toy car that went rolling off your son's chair. At other times, it's necessary to retrieve the child from under the chairs, or keep them from running around the room. (This was particularly difficult when I was 6+ months pregnant with twins.)
Lucas and Elena on the right side, actually paying attention to the children's talk.
 Secondly, it guards me against judging other families. I know how hard it is to teach and train your kids in acceptable church behavior and I'm far too busy splitting up a fight over the crayons to notice how your kids are behaving.
Lucas and I in the bottom left, and my best-behaved child (Leila) on the right.
Finally, it reminds me of how much I need God's help to get through every day. I do a lot of praying throughout the service, asking God for strength and patience as I wrangle my kids away from the communion table. It reminds me that's it's not about me. And isn't that the point, really?

So, on the occasional Sunday when you do find me, nursing one baby, with the other sleeping and my two angels sitting contentedly side by side sharing the crayons, I hope it's an encouragement to bring your family to church - no matter how they behave.


  1. good on you for persevering Taara! It's hard work and I'm encouraged from a distance,

  2. Totally get this. And so thankful though that they do eventually begin to behave better during church.=)

  3. Its so good to have your kids worshipping with the body--even if its challenging right now. They will learn. Thanks for the encouragement before I start this journey very soon--with 1/4 of the challenge you have though. ;)

  4. I really love this post. You're keepin' it real! I've been totally frustrated with JUST ONE LITTLE BABY but I've discovered how to use the creche at one church and have a sweet old lady to rock her to sleep at another (yes, we're dual church attenders) so actually, it's almost as good as pre-child now. Then I read this post and I am really impressed by the far more experienced one in the room. :-)


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