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Woman to Woman: Is It Really a Family Night Out?

This week's topic for Morning Glory's Woman to Woman writing project is:
Is It Really a Family Night Out?
What are your views regarding children under age 5 attending formal events such as funerals, concerts, and weddings? What about church services? What tips or tricks have you developed that make these events go well for you and your little ones?
Obviously having a large family and a steady supply of little ones affects my opinion and practice in this area. My children have attended many funerals. If they didn't know the person or I have babysitting available, I might not take them; otherwise we all go. Sometimes I've found the best solution is to attend the visitation instead of the funeral.

The kids attend weddings with us, too. We have actually been invited to three weddings on the same Saturday next month, and time-wise it is conceivable that we could make them all. I would like to find babysitting for our one-, three-, and five-year-olds, because I think it would be too much for them. I have friends whose relatives are able to keep their kids during weddings, and they are able to have "wedding dates"--how romantic! That's a wonderful option if it's available to you, if not, my advice is to always respect others by keeping your children quiet or removing them if necessary.

As far as church services go, our children have always attended with us. We don't have a nursery: we worship as a family. This is an area where child-training is essential. As I said before, remove a noisy child. The goal, however, is to train your children to remain quiet and still during services. Will you hear every word of every sermon? Heavens, no! Just remember: they're your children and it's your responsibility to train them; you'll both reap the rewards when they learn self-control and self-discipline. This weekly training pays off in the other situations (funerals, concerts, weddings), too.

There will come a day when I won't have little ones. I'll soak up sermons; cry through weddings (and not because I'm in the lobby with a fussy baby); truly reflect and remember during funerals, without distraction. That time isn't now. The worst thing I could do is feel sorry for myself about what I'm missing. I'm not saying I've never done it--I have--but it's a dangerous trap for a mother to fall into, one that leads to discouragement and discontent, emotional quicksand for mothers.

To see what others have to say on this topic, visit Morning Glory!



Blogger No Cool Story said...

Excellent post!! I loved it that you all go to church as a family, the "remove a noisy child" concept (aye!) and the need to train them, so well said.
I only have two kids so my experiences have been a bit different. When they were little funerals, concerts and weddings were a no go, I'd always get a baby-sitter. Time goes by extremely slowly for little kids when the activity is boring for them. Why take them to an event where they could be disruptive? Kind of like a movie theater, in my book, kids under 6 should no be taken to movies, just not a good idea, but that's just me :)
Church services: the church I attended before becoming LDS had a wonderful nursery, so the kids went their way and I went mine.

I was blessed with well behaved kids, by the time we joined our church, they could sit through the whole meeting without the need for toys, snacks or coloring books and they never fought or misbehaved.
Training pays off every time.

Blogger Kelly said...

I love this post because these are things my hubby and I are struggling with right now. We keep our children in worship service but the hard part is figuring out how to train them when we are "outnumbered" (2 adults, three children). I know I need to be working on it at home more and we also train them during nightly family worship. God bless,

Blogger Barb said...

With the possible exception of funerals, my attitude has always been bring the kids, to everything. The trick is to teach kids to behave according to where you're taking them, not leave them with a sitter.

You ARE early with this post. My word, I can't remember the last time I was actually AHEAD of the game. :-)

Blogger Elle said...

Bravo, Mommy Dearest. I truly appreciate your sage advice and take it greatly to heart. We are peas in the pod on these ideas. With some slight exceptions, the children go with us to weddings, funerals and all of church. They are little people that will grow up to be big people and certainly deserve to be trained properly.

It is worth my time. I can write a letter to the wedding couple to express my deeper thoughts, visit with the bereaved at a later time when he/she really needs a comforting friend, and the sermons are available on tape.

Blogger Morning Glory said...

This was excellent, Mommy D, and very well-said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject and I'm glad you'll be linking up tomorrow. It's just wonderful to read what people have to contribute.

Anonymous Randi said...

I wrote a very similar post in regards to church. Now that my kids are older I actually miss those days of trying to quiet them down and keep them contained during service. Now they are all well behaved and can make it through the service with no problems. SOmetimes I wouldn't mind having to leave to snuggle a tiny baby, but at this point I have to wait for grandkids to do that!

Blogger Jen said...

You brought up an important point-the realization that sometimes things *are* too much for the kiddos, as much as we'd like to be with them, its not always all about us. I enjoyed reading your post.

Anonymous Julie said...

Well said! I agree with your comments and enjoyed reading them. Thank you.

Blogger Tigersue said...

I am finding as I read through all these wonderful posts is that even if we all have different ideas of how to get children to behave we all want the same thing, to have respectful and wonderful children.

Thanks for your post and ideas. I am much the same way with taking kids to movies, I hate it when others have their babies there when I have spent money on the movie and a sitter myself.

Blogger amber said...

I with you on all of this! The girls go with us everywhere. Weddings, funerals, church, church meetings...and I am so with you on the "remove a noisy child" concept. I agree with you on all of this whole-heartedly.

Blogger Lei said...

"There will come a day when I won't have little ones. I'll soak up sermons; cry through weddings (and not because I'm in the lobby with a fussy baby); truly reflect and remember during funerals, without distraction. That time isn't now. The worst thing I could do is feel sorry for myself about what I'm missing."--very wise wrods! I appreciate them and I appreciate you participating!

Blogger Code Yellow Mom said...

Perfectly said! Especially about training a child...I've also found that home can be a good practice arena for quiet times at shorter intervals, to prepare for longer services, like having a quiet bible verse time right before bed, or a few minutes in the afternoon that is about quiet or reflective activities.

Blogger An Ordinary Mom said...

I have really enjoyed reading all of these Woman to Woman posts. They have been most enlightening. I think it is safe to say we all agree that we need to train and teach our children how to behave, but that sometimes there comes a point when a noisy child needs to be removed or left with a sitter. Of course you said is much more eloquently :)!!

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