Children, Building Stable Roots, Having them in Church

Dear Reader,

I wanted to share with you some more of the thoughts from Mushrooms on the Moor by Frank Boreham that struck me. He has a number of things that relate to children.

In opposition to our society in which we barely blink at breaking apart families, much less picking them up and moving them around all the time, Boreham speaks of the need for stability in children’s lives:

“It is not good for children to be everlastingly moving. It is good for them to have sacred and beautiful memories of the home of their childhood . . . It is good for children to feel a certain fixity and stability about home and school and friends.” (Kindle Loc. 392)

I don’t know about you, but I have so many friends who seem to move every couple of years because of their husband’s job changes. I see how hard it is on the wives though most of them bear it stoically. I also see that the children have problems. These are not huge rebellious problems, just some loneliness and missing friends. But I do wonder if we are causing deeper wounds than we see. We are meant to be relational creatures, and I can’t think that it is natural or healthy for us to be continually breaking old relationships and having to form new ones. This may seem like small potatoes compared to what divorce, so prominent in our society, does to kids. But I tend to think the two situations have something in common; in both we fail to see our children as people with real needs and feelings. We diminish them, the depth of their friendships, and their feelings. Now I know that sometimes families have to move. But I also think that we have become much too transitory a culture and that we don’t appreciate the great value there is in having roots and a home.

Later on Boreham discusses a related idea, the need for children to have relationships with other adults who are not their parents:

“A boy reaps advantage from the half-parental kindness of man and women who have watched his growth from infancy; in general it affects him as a steadying influence, keeping before his mind the social bonds to which his behavior owes allegiance.” (Loc. 398)

Of course if one is continually relocating, one cannot build these relationships. But we also sabotage them by taking children out of the mainstream of life. We segregate them from most adults and even from most other children, lumping them by age. Even churches, which above all should be a source for such relationships, tend to divide up families and separate people by their time of life.

Which brings us to one final quote from Boreham (whom you will recall was a pastor of a church in New Zealand):

“I am told that, away beyond the Never-Never ranges, there is a church from which the children are excluded before the sermon begins . . . when I dream that I have entered a pulpit from which I can survey no roguish young faces and mischievous wide-open eyes, I fancy I am ruined and undone . . . The children in my congregation are my salvation.” (Loc. 1192ff)

A lot of mistakes, I think, can be avoided by simply treating children like people, neither elevating them as holy innocents nor demeaning them as less worthy than their adult counterparts.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Karen on December 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    The older I get, I see the wisdom of my father — who always encouraged me to walk to the pharmacy on Main Street instead of driving to the CVS in the shopping plaza…..meeting all those people (acquaintances of his and of his parents’; strange, old people to me) was good for me.

    Likewise, the church thing— it’s so good for us to be involved and for my children to follow me around to church meetings – they interact with every age group.

    I’m not one who pushed the “Sunday-School-at-home-father-leads-worship” type of thing. I like to actually concentrate on MY Sunday School lesson in MY class(!) but there is so much value in the children being with their parents for worship service, and not in their own “junior church”. (We just had this discussion at our church — different arrangements need to be made for children whose parents don’t come to church….)

    Good post, Nebby.


  2. Especially encouraging quotes. Thanks for the reminder to stay the course in terms of children in worship, keeping the schedule trimmed, and actually living in one place even when wanderlust tries to lure us somewhere else for no better reason than to do something different.


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