St Mary's Uttoxeter

Choices, Choices

27 Aug 2023 • Articles

"We want our children to choose for themselves" is a reason often given by modern parents for not bringing their children to church. In the past, many parents sent unwilling children to church or Sunday School but stayed at home themselves, showing no interest in what the children were doing or learning in church. Children learn best by example, and they will often be more willing and attentive if they feel they are being involved in something which their elders enjoy and see as important. Most of all, it is difficult for anyone to learn anything at all without teaching, guidance and encouragement from others who have already studied the same things.

If you are a parent or godparent of a child who has been christened, is this child growing up knowing about Jesus and believing in God as you promised they would when you brought them to church to be baptised? Or, if your children have not been christened, are you helping them to learn about the Christian heritage of this country so that they have enough knowledge to make their own choice about it?

Jesus said, "Let the children come to me," and these words have ensured that children have always been loved, valued, respected and welcomed by the Church, just as much as adults. Long before any government thought of providing schools, the Church was teaching children, encouraging them to discover the pleasure and excitement of learning. Now we have a rich choice of state schools and faith schools, all providing basic academic subjects and some knowledge of society, too.

When parents are choosing which schools to apply to for their children (and parents usually want to be the ones to make this choice), they often say that they are thinking about a Church school. But how do they know that a Christian school would really present the right teaching, ethics and atmosphere for their children if no one in the family attends Church or spends much time thinking about Jesus Christ? And how can they approach their local vicar with integrity to ask for support or a signature on an application form for a Church school if they are strangers to the Church?

With every blessing for families as the new school and college terms begin,