Sometimes I think we don’t give little kids enough credit. How often do we question whether or not they understand or remember the things we’re teaching them, only to realize later that they do indeed “get it,” and maybe better than we do?
Although there are many differing opinions on how to train little ones during a worship service, I personally am OK with taking along small books and other quiet items for very young children to play with during the sermon. I think it helps them keep busy and quiet at an age when they can’t necessarily understand a higher motivation for reverent behavior.
Even so, from a very young age—around the time they turn two—we teach our children that there are certain times during the service that they must be completely still and quiet. (1) During prayers and (2) during the Lord’s Supper, we put down our crayon, or our book, or our sippy cup (or whatever is being played with at the moment) and we focus. Even very young children are capable of a few minutes of quiet focus at a time, and this prepares them for doing so in longer stretches as they grow older and more mature.
During the weekly communion service, we teach the kids that while the grown-up Christians are taking the Lord’s Supper, we ALL—even the little children—are doing the same thing: thinking about Jesus on the cross.
I asked my three-year-old daughter recently to tell me what she thinks about during this time, and her little brow furrowed as she said:
The people were so mean to Jesus!
They hurt Him, and they laughed at Him.
They poked the thorns on Him, and His blood came out.
Because of the thorns.
At this point her smile returned, and she continued:
But He wasn’t mean to the people.
Even when they were mean to Him!
He was NICE!
Because He loved them.
He loved all the people, even the soldiers.
And He loves US, too.
That’s why He died on the cross and His blood came out.
Yes, I think she gets it. And the eloquence of a three year old is a good enough reminder for me.
*What have you learned from a child? How did it affect your outlook on life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!