Let them be little
I am a huge fan of people watching, I enjoy watching how people interact with one another. I like watching facial expressions and interactions between people.
During worship at Church I tend to scan the space and watch people with there interactions. I especially love watching children during worship. Children have this perfect innocence and absolute peace within them. Sunday was like any other Sunday and there I was just scanning the sanctuary… until I saw 2 little girls, sweet as pie. They were dressed in floral dresses and they were smiling and dancing just having a time. The mom was sitting behind the girls holding a tiny baby girl, she looked exhausted and you could tell she just wanted to worship without a worry. Let’s face is she is a busy Mama. As her little girls were laughing, singing, and dancing she kept leaning down, saying something like “stop it.” She kept touching them on the back or arm. A lot of back and forth between them. As I scan the other way I see this same sort of thing happening and it hit me!
I am guilty of this! Why? Why do we feel like we have to “hush” our children during worship? The fact is that from a child’s perspective they are watching adults with hands in the air, dancing, and just worshiping in a loud visual way. Little kids just express themselves differently. Let’s face is there is no right or wrong way to worship our heavenly father. He is just so happy that you have brought your children to a space that they can be fed from the holy spirit.
When our sweet Chan was younger he was loud and proud and didn’t so much like going to “story time” at the library. It was always a stressful situation for me. The library attendants would always give me looks or ask me to take him out and so I did. The problem with this is- We are taught that if our children can’t follow the “normal” we should take them out so not to disrupt the “class.” Well, we were also in search of a home church, and after several attempts… of being told to go to a seperate nursing area, a cry room, leaving him in the nursery…
None of those felt like good options for me. I was at Church with my family to be with my family and love on the Lord with my baby. We found a perfect home church that let him just be little. They didn’t turn a nose up to me nursing, they didn’t shhhh him during the service. I was told multiple times what a blessing our family was to the congregation because children are the sign of growth. We then moved to Florida and we started going to story time at the library and the sweetest librarian came up to me and said, “You don’t need to worry Mom, he can hear everything that is going on, he is little.”
What a relief, I went there feeling scared and overwhelmed about how it was going to be, I went there nervous and unsure of myself as a mom. Miss Pam was quick to put those worries aside. Really the whole staff at the Cape Coral Public Library, they would remind me that a library is a place of wonder and amazement and should be fun for kids. You don’t have to teach them to be quiet, teach them to read- that requires words to flow. It was a breath o fresh air.
As a parent it’s overwhelming because everyone around you has different expectations of what your child should act like. When the fact is why do we start grooming our children at the age of infancy to be a 9-5 worker. We groom them to learn real quick that they should be quiet, sit still, and only move about in a cubical sized area. Isn’t this true…. Play pens? Gates?
Then pre school at the age of 3 they are taught to sit still, and listen, then at the age of 5 they go to Kindergarten and they are expected to sit in a desk 8-3…. 5 days a week, and as the years go forward not much changes. So from the age of 5 -18 they are in a desk 5 days a week, then college or straight to work the average 8-5 Monday through Friday in a cubical. This is what we are taught life is about? So for the first 4 years of your life we prepare our children for school, then for the next 13 years we prepare them for college or an 8-5, until they are about 70… Then we are told that’s when we get to enjoy life.
I have issues with this mindset or rather this idea of success. The fact is that we live on this big beautiful world and there is much to see and do. There is more to life than just being told to be quiet. When you are at Church with your sweet babies let them be little! Encourage them to worship and instead of shhhing them teach them the proper way to worship, take them to the library and don’t let a librarian make you feel like a bad parent because your child laughs and talks a little at the library. They are little, let them be little! Teach them that books are funny and books are fun and the library is a great place. We as parents have enough pressure on us don’t let society make you feel bad about stuff that you shouldn’t feel bad about. Children are a sign of growth. Maybe you don’t have children, in that case you should be an encouraging stranger. Be that person that offers a smile instead of a judgemental stair, be the person that says to a parent you are doing a great job even if that child is screaming in the store.
I never understood these struggles until I had a spirited child. This boy from the time he was born knew what he wanted and when he wanted it. There were lots of fits at the store, lots of corralling him at the library, nursing while pushing a grocery cart, and a little crying and wanting to crawl around at church… Through all of those things I tried to remain and remind myself that this to shall pass. There were lots of tears on my part and lots of strange looks, mean comments, but a few helping hands and soothing words that came in the perfect moments.
It’s okay Mama! It’s okay Dad! It’s okay that your baby, child, kid, is laughing or goofing a little in Church is okay! God wants your children there! They are hearing what is being said! It’s okay if your child isn’t a quiet little mouse in the library, we are humans we are designed to interact! We aren’t designed to sit in a cubical from birth- ————-
Please let them be little! Take a breath! You are doing a good job. There is no normal! Your child doesn’t have to be “Normal.” Nobody that has ever done anything great was “NORMAL”