I just want to give a huge shout out to my church.
I'm thankful that they have a right and biblical view of children. I'm thankful that they haven't bombarded us with parenting 'advice' and criticism. I'm thankful that they are a church who welcomes babies and children. It's lovely to see the older folk say hello to Rory each week and see him smile and chatter back in return. I'm so glad that no-one seems bothered by the noises babies and small children inevitably make. In fact, one bloke approached me after a service and told me not to worry about Rory's loud and happy screeches bothering anyone - they love hearing the sounds of children because it's the next generation coming to church, the next generation who they hope will grow to love and serve Christ and be the next leaders.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating children running amok during the service. We try to get Rory to sit still and look at books or play quietly with toys. If children are upset or having tantrums, parents take them to the cry room to help them settle so everyone else can still hear. But my church is such a gracious group of people. They don't mind prams being in the way. They seem to remember what it was like to be a parent of young children. There's no 'children should be seen and not heard' attitude, no disapproving frowns if Rory makes a noise, only love and acceptance. They know we are not raising an unruly brat, they know we are doing our best to be considerate of them, too.
I wonder if many young adults today have been turned off church because they grew up associating it as a place of disapproval and punishment. I think many churches are dying because they are full of old people who think any baby who dares make a noise in church is a 'bad baby'...an attitude which makes my blood boil. What young parents would want to come to a place like that?
Thank you God for my church. Thank you that they are a people who welcome little children as Jesus does.