This 1953 Church News article has been kicking around in my “to post” file for a couple of years now, without my knowing quite what to say about it. Time to pass it over to you for your evaluation:
Parents Told to Bring the Children
During the last General Conference, a new objective in attendance at sacrament meeting was announced by the Presiding Bishopric. it was suggested that plans be made to have 60 per cent of the ward membership in attendance at sacrament meeting each week. In making these plans, one of the factors to be kept in mind by bishops is that 18 per cent of the Church population are under eight years of age.
Plans for increased attendance at sacrament meeting, therefore, should include consideration of this important segment of the ward population. Each bishop, for his own information, should learn how many children there are in the ward who are under eight years of age, and then compare this number with the number who are ordinarily present at sacrament meeting. If we are to reach our goal, this group must be brought into our sacrament meetings.
An appeal should be made to parents to bring their children to sacrament meeting. While some parents are obsessed with the idea that children need not attend this meeting, the Lord made no exception for anyone who is physically able. The foundation of a substantial character is laid early in life. The training and habits formed in childhood by attending sacrament meeting are invaluable to our children. There should be no delay in bringing this group into our sacrament meetings regularly.
What say ye about children in sacrament meeting? Does it surprise you that as recently as 1953 this was considered a novel idea? How does the emphasis on numbers strike you? What about the reported “obsession” that children need not (should not?) attend?
How do you feel about bringing your children to meetings? about meeting with other people’s children? Any suggestions for improving the experience for everybody?