I finally have a bit of time to catch up on reading and reflections. It feels good to have the papers out of the way!
A few weeks ago, I brought up a topic for discussion in John’s class, and I want to write out my thoughts about it. We talked about the issue of “child care” vs. education for infants and toddlers. Most churches with enough children have a “nursery,” and in most of these nurseries the care providers are volunteers who serve one Sunday a month. Often the parents are encouraged to serve in these positions. The philosophy seems to be, “It’s your kid in there. You do some of the work and don’t just dump him off on us.”
This has always made me very sad. For one thing, we don’t treat other ministries like this. We don’t ask parents to volunteer once a month with the fifth-graders or the youth. We have a teacher in there. We don’t act like those kids are getting “dumped off.” We treat this as an important ministry, and a teacher is needed. Parents of these older children are either ministering in their places of giftedness or receiving ministry.
So what does this really say about the babies? They are devalued, not old enough to benefit from real teaching. We’ll tolerate them until some certain magical age when they can “get it.” Then they get a teacher. It’s really a shame and a disservice. This is a critical point in those babies’ lives! They don’t learn in the same ways that we do; but they do learn—and the things they learn are crucial to their character development. The person who is teaching infants and toddlers is the first person who takes them to Jesus, the first person who teaches them to forgive and to live as a community. And we relegate this to a volunteer who may not really want to be there! We take from those children the opportunity to have consistency at a time when they need it most! We must repent of this!