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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Training to Sit Still

Now that Andrew is no longer needing a morning nap, I decided it's time to train him to sit still. Once again we resumed our radio Bible time with John MacArthur. Each boy has their own seat and they are required to sit and listen to the 30 minute program. I'm happy to say that they are doing quite well. Of course they need occasional reminders. Some may wonder why we even bother to train our kids to sit still. Is there really a point to it?

We are part of a church that is family integrated where everyone, from young to old, sit together in the same service. There is no age-segregated service. Just one big family in one auditorium. Matthew, now at 3 years of age, has come a long way and is currently doing quite well sitting with us through the entire service. Andrew is not quite trained yet (also has a tough time because it coincides with his morning nap which he's just growing out of). In order to have our kids sit through the entire 1 hour 45 minute service, we realized that we needed to train them in a less difficult environment: at home. Our daily radio Bible time helps the kids to practice sitting still and learn the Word of God. Although I don't expect my kids to understand everything in the sermon, I'm always amazed at how much they understand. Let's not underestimate our kids' ability.

I have been reading Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman who encourages parents to have their children participate in the worship as a family.
Parenting in the pew helps you pay attention to the most important thing you can ever train your child to do: worship. Worship is the only thing we get to do forever. (p. 16)
We parents often feel Sunday worship is a time for us. We need to get “spiritually fed” and we can't be “distracted” by our squirmy kids. But Castleman tells us that worship is the most important thing that we can ever teach our children. We need to invest our time in training them to value worship. Recognize that this is not easy and that you won't get much out of the sermons. Consider this time a season of life. Soon enough your children will be grown and they will be able to sit with you (!) and delight in worshipping the Lord with you. We need to model for them that worship is important.

John Piper's article “The Family: Together in God's Presence” explains some more reasons behind worshipping as a family and offers some practical advice about how to do it. Give it a read. May it encourage you towards a joyful family worship.