As more mature Christians, we promise to help nurture those at the beginning of their faith journey. Not to do so would be like sitting down to a family meal but excluding the kids. Sure their manners might be far from elegant, but we welcome them because they are part of the family. Being with family is how we learn to be family. Worship is no different. Young people giggle, they poke, they ask questions and they swing their legs because they are young children. Children learn about worship and how to participate by experience, by how they are welcomed into the community, by what they see big people doing. SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULTS WITH CHILDREN · When possible, arrive in time to find a good place to sit. Let them sit next to the aisle or in the front pews. Even let them stand on the pew next to you so that they can see. · Tell them before worship starts what will happen in worship. Show them the parts of the service where they have an active role, and the parts where we all listen or watch others quietly. · Take advantage of the worship supplies and materials available at the door when you arrive, and bring them to your seat. Return bags and supplies to their place when you leave. · Worship with your child, guiding her or him through the service so they can feel what it is like to worship together. Its ok to whisper occasionally to answer questions. · Worship at home through saying Table Grace together, or Bedtime Prayers, or even, “God bless you.” Ask your kids questions about how they noticed God’s love in their day, and how they shared in it. · Remember that sometimes children just plain need to run around and play. That’s why we provide a bright and safe Nursery space for your young child at any time during worship. SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULTS WITHOUT CHILDREN · Be helpful to parents of small children by not making them feel awkward or unwanted. · Acknowledge children by smiling, or nodding in their direction, to show your appreciation of them. · Make a child’s presence a part of your worship by inviting their family to sit next to you, praying for them, taking an interest in them. · Make a special point of greeting them when everyone else is greeting. · Find a young child before or after the service, make eye contact, introduce yourself, tell them you are glad to see them and will be looking for them next week. You might just be the reason that family returns. (adapted with gratitude from pew insert by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN)