I have a friend over at Caught By Christ who wrote a good article on having your kids in the pews. I commend this article to you and have some additional reflections.
I am a big believer of children being in church. This is shocking I know. But, I am also very cognizant of when my children are being very loud in worship. Other children could be just as loud as mine and I don’t notice it very much. But, if it’s my children, I start trying to get my wife’s attention. After I’ve gotten it I give her the look to have her try and calm them down. I understand why people with children don’t take their kids to worship. Their noise level may jump exponentially for minor reasons.
As I think about this I have to remind myself that worship is not all about me and my children. This is my selfish desire to think that somehow my children will have such an impact on what is going on in worship, that it will somehow throw off what God is doing. It seems to me that this might turn out to be a good spiritual discipline. By having my children being formed in church I am giving them access them to God’s Word and Sacrament, which many don’t have. When they start to make noise and I want them to go to the nursery, I must stop and remember I am upholding my baptismal promises for them, they have to be there. I am taking them to worship and it’s not about me or my children. Worship is a messy event. When my children are loud I have to let go and realize that my children, or I, have not become the center of attention. So here is the spiritual discipline: take your children to church and when they are noisy remember that this worship is centered on God, people won’t focus on you, and rely once again on God. People are generally very kind to parents with children.
Live with the messiness of worship, loud children and all. It helps me to remember that I and my children are not the center of the universe, even though it could feel that way when their fighting over a hymnal.