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No Kids Allowed
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Guest Blogger, Rajinie Dixit


Once I was visiting a church with my husband and 2 young kids (Eli was maybe 1 at the time). Jaelin went to the kids program easily, but Eli was sleepy so he just stayed with me. I went to sit down in the auditorium (this was a non-traditional location and service), and as I walked closer to the front (pastor’s wife habit), an usher tapped me and asked me to follow him to the back of the room. This church, in an effort to be helpful, had seats in the back, near the doors, for parents with small kids. I was a little offended. Ok – maybe a lot offended, since I’m writing about this nearly 10 years later.

I’m sure the church was trying to be helpful and I get those noisy babies and kids can be distracting. But should we assume everyone under the age of 5 will be a nuisance at church and relegate them to the back? Or should we give parents some chance to actually parent and decide where their family should sit. For my family, and me sitting at the front (near the aisle for easy exits), has helped focus my kids in on worship and the sermon. Actually, it helps me focus better too. I’m 41 and easily distracted by the cute haircuts and awesome shoes around me when I sit far from the stage. 

Yes, I’ve seen clueless parents let their kids howl through the best part of the sermon. But I’ve also seen tearful parents run out of church early because they were exhausted trying to “train” their kids to behave in church. So I tend to fall on the side of grace when it comes to allowing families to come as they are, and as they behave to church.

I’ve had this unfortunate event one one of my church visits, but I’ve also been the recipient of lots of love at church – helpful grandmas offering to hold my baby during the service, smiling teenagers behind me returning a dropped crayon for the umpteenth time, fellow moms who sharing their snacks, wet wipes and whatever else I forgot to pack, and strong, eagle eyed helpers who escorted me with a heavy car seat, stroller, diaper bag and sleeping toddler to the car. Those were all small mercies that meant a lot at the time. They (and awesome nursery and kids church staff) were the angels that enabled me to keep going to church while I had three kids under 5. I’m not a single mom, but I was on Sabbath morning. As a pastor’s wife, I hope I wasn’t treated better than a regular mom at our church at the time. I choose to think we were all loved there. They were Jesus to me. Now that my kids are pretty independent and fairly behaved (sometimes) at church, I hope to be Jesus to others, to get them through those “Why did I even bother to get up and dressed today?” kind of Sabbath mornings. There are mornings these days when I still feel that way, but if I allow myself to listen to the spirit of God in my heart, and open my eyes to people around me whom he sends to love me and be there for me, I realize that the best place for me to be at 10am on his holy Sabbath is in community.

Rajinie Dixit is the speech-language pathologist.  She is the children's ministry director at Oakridge Adventist Church.  She is married to Kumar Dixit.