Recently a friend and I were discussing our thoughts about parenting. He and I share many common ideas and values, but there was one glaring difference in our styles - church membership. He just could not understand why I felt it important to raise my child in a church community. He was not questioning why I wanted my child to have faith in God, but he could not see how belong to a church family could be an important parenting resource.
I explained to Tom that there are actually five reasons why I believe it is important to raise my son in a church community.
First is, of course, the issue of faith. I want my child to have a strong faith in God because I know that faith will provide the comfort, solace, and inspiration to carry him through the joys and tribulations that are in store for him as a human. I know this from my own personal experience as well as countless studies which have shown that people with faith in a higher being live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives.
Belonging to a church is more than simply attending services on Sundays. It is about becoming a member of that community and that is a very important factor in my decision for my child. His friends are children he has known his entire life and his teachers and caregivers are adults and teenagers we have known for years. We have history and connections that brings us together for fun and fellowship as well as to share troubles and celebrate joys.
Every child needs a variety of role models to help decide what person they will become. I cannot think of a better place to find a wide range of role models than in a church. I know there are many people that I look up to among our congregation and I am sure that my son has many as well.
Regularly attending church and Sunday School as well as participating in the church community provides a child with many important guidelines for being a good person as well as a good Christian. Learning the Golden Rule, the 10 Commandments, and Bible lessons are all an important part of that. Children also learn from watching others and following that example. If they see their parents and other adults giving of their time, love, and money then they will be more giving as well.
Finally, I find Church teaches my child a lot about social relationships. He has a group of peers that he has known since infancy and will grow to adulthood with but he also enjoys a spread of generations and knows and loves people of many ages and backgrounds that he likely would not know if not for church. Simply by raising my child in a church I have given him a number of social connections that I hope will help learn and grow to be a man I can be proud of.
These five reasons are all powerful motivations for raising your child in a church community, but there is one other important factor as well. Attending church, and church community activities, is something that you can do together as a family. Step off the hectic whirl of day-to-day life and into a community of faith.
Deanna Mascle writes about other family issues in her Family Life blog at http://OfficialFamily.us .