I need to start by saying that my question isn’t at all intended to be judgemental. I don’t ever think “what’s wrong with you?” to people who don’t have a church family. But at the same time, I honestly can’t imagine raising children without the support of a healthy growing church.
Both mine and Stef’s families are amazing, but when they are complemented by our church family parenting becomes a blessing. Like a few months ago when life was feeling overwhelming and friends from our small group called to say “We are dropping off dinner to you tonight”.
Yes, relationships and support can form outside of the church, but in the digital world we live in people are more likely to comment “thinking about you” on a social post than actually help. The local church is a place that face to face relationships can form, and real help can happen.
I wasn’t raised in a church
For the majority of my childhood, I didn’t go to church. We would try one occasionally but nothing ever stuck. It wasn’t until I was about 13 when I really got involved in a local church and my family committed to regularly attend.
As a child I thought attending church was something people did on Easter, Christmas, weddings, and funerals. But once I started attending it didn’t take long for it to become part of everyday life and a place where I had relationships that helped me grow as a person.
I want to raise my kids in church
Like I already said I can’t imagine raising children without the support of a church family. Our oldest will turn 8 this fall and the entire time so far raising her the church has been a regular part of life. Our family’s rhythms are based on the church schedule. To our children Sunday’s are ‘church days’ and Wednesdays are ‘church nights’.
They have a group of friends they have been with since birth and look forward to seeing. They also have ‘friends’ who are older and younger who help them better relate to people of all ages.
The church isn’t just a place for our children to grow. Stef and I grow as parents because of the people around us. I would put these relationships in 3 categories.
Generations to learn from
In our church, we have people from the greatest generation, the silent generation, the Boomers, and Busters who have raised children and we can learn from. They seem to love sharing insight when asked, and sometimes when they are not asked. Not everyone is the ideal person to take advice from, but the depth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom we can learn from those older than us is great!
A generation to commiserate with
This almost makes it sound like I hate being a parent, which is not the case at all, but there are those days where there is too much crap to handle.
My first time ever taking Ava alone as a new father I walked into a guy from our church’s brand new house and sat her on my lap on the floor. She then had a blow out diaper that not only trashed her onesie but ran down my pants and onto his brand new, off white carpet.
At that moment I felt overwhelmed but am so thankful it happened where it did. The people there helped with cleanup and even found me a pair of shorts to change into.
We all have those days where we just need someone else at the same stage of life talk to, commiserate with, and encourage.
Generations to train
Have you ever had the thought “why didn’t anyone tell me this?” What if we changed that to “Who do I need to warn about this?” I am not a parenting expert, but with 3 very different children, I have learned some things along the way. You as a parent have also. There is something both encouraging and empowering about helping prevent someone else from falling into a pitfall you fell into.
On Saturday we will share about how to find a healthy church for your family. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!