Monday, February 04, 2013

The Christian Family

"Can I come to bible study and bring Ben?" This was the question from a young mom in our congregation who wanted to attend the daytime bible study. She is on maternity leave and her little guy is usually sleepy in the morning. Perfect fit.

Without hesitation I said yes, and the two showed up. What a hit! The study group is made up of people of various ages, but mother and son were quickly surrounded by doting grandparent types. It bordered on idolatry.

The test came on a morning when Ben was uncharacteristically fussy, and the two came and went from the room where we meet. I sent an email later to commend her for coming and encouraged her to keep on doing so. She admitted that she wondered whether it was such a good idea to attend, but so many people assured her after the study she felt much better. Nice going gang!

At our evening study a grandmother let me know she wouldn't be able to come because her five-year-old was staying overnight. I reminded her that Alex knew my toybox like the back of his hand from visits with his grandfather, so why not bring him? I carried  the box into the study room and he played away happily. Except when I used the word "stupid" at one point. His ears perked up and he came right to me: "quarter!" he exclaimed. In their household the use of the word "stupid" results in a fine of twenty-five cents. I paid up on the spot. Folks were absolutely charmed by this exchange, even though it had nothing to do with the subject of prayer.

There was a time when it was next to unthinkable to bring a baby or a young child to a study group or other "serious" event. Why, I wonder? Yes, it requires a little patience and adjustment, not to mention sensitivity on the part of the parent or grandparent to the flow of events. But this is not rocket science.

In a day when we lament the absence of young families and children if we're going to have a prayer it is important to be flexible and open. And honestly, we oldies are the beneficiaries.



IanD said...

Slick move.

That kid would be a millionaire if he came to my place for an afternoon. (Teacher by trade, pirate at home.)

Nancy said...

I was known as "the Bridge baby". My mom, as a new mom and wanted to get out. Her Bridge club as made up of older women whose children were in school. I went along in my car bed (no car seats then) and slept through the games. For years later, I as introduced as the Bridge baby when we met some of these ladies. I didn’t learn to play Bridge and I still don’t know how to. You are right if we want young families to be a part of our church family we have to make them welcome.

Laura said...

Ben's gurgles, coos and even squeals add to the richness of that community. The escape artists on Sunday mornings are "grace on the run".
Our Olivia's first book study, from the perch of her carseat or an adopted Grandma's lap, would have been have been Travelling the wise and authentic (and at times, potty-mouthed) Anne Lammott at our church in Winnipeg. She hasn't grown up repeating any of those words to our knowledge but she has grown up knowing she is part of a church family that loves her.
When asked to join a church committee as a young Mom, that committee opted to meet around my dining room table instead of the church so to include me.
And interestingly now, our 16 year old is asked to be part of committees...and she says yes with confidence, and delight.
By my experience...the proof's in the pudding!

willowjakmom said...

I think that many of us go to church partly in search of trying to get back to that place that is untouched by our experience of the 'evils of the world'. To a time when we only saw the good in people, were full of hope and knew nothing but joy. Really, to get back to what it felt like to be a little kid. Ben is our Wednesday visual reminder of that. I meant it when I told Ben's mom that his presence (and hers) make Wednesdays that much better. Ben is as valuable to St. Paul's as are our elders and I am so grateful that all ages are so well represented in our congregation.