Q. Having raised three children, under the benches so to speak, is enough to teach one that there is no off the cuff answer since every child is unique and different. It comes down to understanding this uniqueness and applying concerted training to your child. This applies to life itself, not only meetings.
A. Training calls for repetitive instruction and guidance because a child’s retention capacity grows only slowly. This may cause embarrassment or frustration to a parent, so your own heart needs preparation to take your child into life, and church life. Keep your emotions in control, be gentle but firm. Whenever necessary, look directly into your child’s eyes and tell him/herwhat you require. Do this often; firmly but kindly.
Your two-year-old can hardly take in what the meeting is all about, but he can understand something of the way you worship the Lord and pray at home. Get him to sing and pray when you do. Make it a happy event. If you’re rough with him, he’ll begin to resent the meetings.
The Bible is full of direction on how to raise children and, of course, Prov 22:6 is one of the most famous verses – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Your Heavenly Father is busy training you; you would do well to see how He does it.
Some practical hints you might try:
- Bring along some soft toys that could amuse him. Hard ones will distract when theyfall around. Bring them in a pillowcase, not supermarket bags – which annoyingly sound like an ever-flowing tap!
- A colouring book and crayons are good too.
- His favourite songs on your cell phone turned very low can keep him happy. Low levels force him to listen intently and could put him to sleep!
- You will find a Mother’s Room in most Assemblies. Please use them; you will be able to listen to the Word through the sound system.
- When all else fails, you may have to take him outside, talk to him and minister to his little bottom which God made for training purposes. Prov 23:13 has more wonderful wisdom: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
- Finally, don’t get discouraged when grannies turn around and hiss at you. They don’t mean evil; they simply can’t hear well. Love and forgive them. Never let that keep you away – it’s Satan’s trick to cheat you!