Sacrament and Young Children

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Why do parents feed sacrament bread and water to babies and toddlers? What purpose does it serve?

Certainly the children are too young to show that they are willing to take upon themselves the name of Jesus, willing to always remember Him and willing to always keep the commandments.

It cannot be an effort to make sure the children remember the sacrifice of Jesus. They are too young to understand who He is, let alone the sacrifice he made or what implications His sacrifice has in our individual lives.

They have not been baptized, so they cannot reflect upon the covenants they normally would have made at baptism.

So, what?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s left? Perhaps the parents want to instill a habit in their children. If so, is that a good measure to take? Should we be teaching our children to take the Sacrament out of habit? Can this be detrimental when they are older.

10 thoughts on “Sacrament and Young Children

  1. I think that some parents may have a vauge idea of wanting to instill the habit of taking the sacrament in their children.

    More likely, though, is that it’s very tough to explain to children why everyone else in the congregation is getting a snack and they aren’t. It helps keeps the peace.

    Whether or not that is a good reason, I’ll leave up to others. I haven’t decided yet what to do when my daughter gets older and wants the bread and wanter.

  2. With the proper teaching, I think that allowing non-baptized children to take the sacrament can be a good way to teach them about the baptismal covenant. The sacrament also serves to build a sense of community among the saints. It’s important for kids to feel like they are a part of the ward or branch even before they are baptized.

    “It cannot be an effort to make sure the children remember the sacrifice of Jesus. They are too young to understand who He is, let alone the sacrifice he made or what implications His sacrifice has in our individual lives.”

    This statement can be made of adult members as well. I think that allowing children to take the bread and water is one way we can hep them to begin to understand these things, that we understand only imperfectly ourselves.

    Good to see you’re blogging again, Kim.

  3. We started ours at 3 years old. We want them to not only have the habit but to have at least a basic understanding since the sacrament is an ordinance and not a treat. Children are pretty smart.

    I don’t judge anyone who chooses differently though. But I do believe the sacrament is too important to leave as just “something you do in sacrament meeting”.

  4. Oops, I missed that somehow.

    I agree that if the child is too young to want and get it him or herself, there’s no reason to push it on the child.

  5. I would be perfectly happy to wait for my kids to get baptized. It really isn’t that big of a deal, but whether or not my kids get the Sacremenet depends on whether my wife or I is holding the tray.

    I think that the catholics do a great job at getting their kids ready for communion. It’s a big deal for them – not something that they take for granted or worse (like the time they tried to grab a handful of bread).

  6. I wonder if it isn’t something like a vague notion of giving their child a sacred gift? Just a thought . . .

    Oh and Kim. I’m so glad you’re still here! I like Mary most, of course, but I just think you’re awesome.

  7. I give it to my toddler, but that’s mainly because he will scream in frustration if he sees all of us taking it and the tray passes in front of him without him getting some. Since it is important to me to keep him as quiet as possible during the sacrament for the benefit of others, and since he is most certainly the purest person on the pew, I figure there’s nothing wrong with it.

  8. Lisa

    I like you too :) And I love your writing!!

    Jonathon, no Kim isn’t saying there is anythign wrong with it. Of course it is completely up to you what choice you make of when to give it. We decided to wait as it is a covenant that is being renewed and wanted our children to have a basic understanding of the Atonement and what the sacrament is all about. But that was just us. I know we are the minority, and that’s ok! :) Fortunately neither of our children have reacted in a negative way to waiting to take the sacrament, so we have been blessed in that.

    I have to say though, I don’t think taking the sacrament is all about purity, but about renewing your covenant (or after all, not many would be able to take it at all, lol)

    But there is absolultely nothing wrong with teaching your toddler about the sacrament and allowing them to partake of it.

  9. Joseph Fielding Smith gave one of his “Answers to Gospel Questions” about the issue of whether little children should take the sacrament. I don’t have the text in front of me, but in essence, he said: Is there any reason they should NOT partake of it? Jesus said, Suffer the little children to come unto me. There is no harm in their doing so.

    As my children become old enough I try to show them pictures of Christ and talk about him. My kids knew from a very young age that we were doing this to remember Jesus, his body and his blood.

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