Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Children/Age of Accountability

Here is Jen L's question:

I've been thinking a lot about kids and Christianity. A friend recently posted on FB that her 18 month old son had helped her lead worship at school one morning (she's the music director at a church school) and that he was clapping and raising his hands in praise and she was so proud of him for worshiping like that. Maybe I'm rude for saying this, but I think he was just imitating behavior he had seen. Our kids are only a few months behind him age-wise, and I don't think either of them really understands the concept of praise and worship, no matter how much we've ha them in church. I grew up in church and did a lot of the same things I saw the adults doing, but until I was around 7, I didn't really start to understand. I don't think it was until I was in middle school that I really understood the idea of praise and being a Christian. It is definitely importatnt to instill our Christian values in our kids from a very young age, but I guess my question for discussion is what is the age of accountability? When do you think kids are really able to grasp the concepts of what it means to be a Christian? Obviously it's a constant process, as I am still learning new aspects of it myself. An interesting topic for us moms of youngsters, I think!

I don't know if there is an actual age for the age of accountability, but it is something I definitely believe in (see David's son for an example). Some kids I think can grasp the concept at 5 or so. Others don't grasp it until 7 or 8 I bet. Then there are those with mental impairments that may never be able to fully grasp the concept.

I totally agree with you that the 18 month old was probably just mimicking. But, this is a great way to teach the little ones how to behave in church, etc. If you set the examples early on, it is easier to get them to follow it. This is why I am actually glad AJU5 sits with me most Sundays at church. We got to a very small church, and so we don't have a true nursery (we have a room, but there aren't enough kids to really have someone in there during service). She is learning how to sit in church, how to pray, and how to worship God. These are things we will have to explain to her later, but she is getting the ideas now.

I think you are also right when you say it is all a process. There are teenagers and adults even that have accept Christ as their Saviour but have not fully understood what it meant. They just followed along. Now, that isn't to say that these people aren't saved, but it is a big reason for discipleship and Christian education. I know I am still learning a lot about my faith! There are things I believed when I first was saved that I don't agree with now. There are things I didn't even know about then that I have strong convictions on now.


So, I answered the "two" questions I got. I don't know if anyone else reads this, but if you have other things you want me to discuss, let me know! I am more than willing to try and conquer any question!

1 comment:

Jen L. said...

Great post. Thanks!
I think you're exactly right--we're teaching them good habits. That really goes for all walks of life, I guess, whether it's eating with the family at the dinner table, participating at church, or playing with other kids at the playground. I'm interested to see how Dean will be once he starts Mother's Day Out next fall. It's at the church, so we'll see if that changes how he feels about the whole "sitting still in church" thing. He may want to go play as soon as we pull into the parking lot!