The subject of baptism came up the other day with my boys. We’re reading through the book of Mark together and so it was logical that it became a topic. I’ve been a bit hesitant to approach the subject, if I’m honest.
I know that we are to teach the whole counsel of God. I know that we are to talk of these things with our children. I know it would seem my duty as a Christian parent to even encourage my children in this direction. Except that I don’t.
It’s not that I don’t want them to be baptized. I do! With my whole heart!!
It’s just that I don’t want to convince them to do it. I don’t want them to decide to become baptized at a point in their life where they do things to please me. I don’t want them to do it because, “Mom said I should,” and they’ve been taught to obey. I don’t want to manipulate them by placing too heavy an emphasis on it or make them feel guilt for not having been.
For all of these reasons I’ve never taken the subject on.
My oldest son was baptized when he was 8. His choice completely. He’s always been a bit of an old soul and 8 was an age of understanding for him and he decided to do it. He met our pastor for coffee without either of us (bless his heart!) and talked it through. He answered questions that were asked of him as to why he wanted to be baptized and we agreed that he should be. We gave him our whole blessing and encouraged his decision 1o0%.
But we had never made a ‘thing’ of it with him. He had heard about it, seen it happen in our church, asked us about it and decided it was what he wanted.
Our other boys haven’t followed suit in this though. They’ve never asked about it. Never really even considered it, to my knowledge.
So I’ve not brought it up either.
I know that I could convince my boys to be baptized. I’m a persuasive sort and they are at a heart warming age of wanting my approval. They come home with ribbons and awards and beam as they show them to me because they want me to be proud of them. And I am! But it means that we haven’t discussed baptism because I don’t want it to be an, “Aren’t you proud of me, Mom!” moment. I want it to be in obedience. Apart from me.
As we were talking about it the other night after reading scripture where Jesus was baptized, my middle schooler said matter of factly, “Well, shouldn’t I be baptized?” Of course, I agreed that he should be. Then my little piped up, “Can I do it with him?”
And I backed down.
I moved along and I talked of other things and I said we’d talk about it later.
I fear this may have been an epic failure on many grounds but in the meantime I’m going to study more about baptism and especially childhood baptisms. I know in scripture whole families were baptized together, but for some reason I think “copycat” when my younger wanted to suddenly do it because his big brother was.
Is this bad? Should we not want to copy each other in this? Have your children been baptized? Was it their idea or yours? Did you push it or let them come to it on their own? Did you completely avoid it in horrible fashion as I have? I need help, people!
These are some resources I’ve found. Please share any more you have!!
Should We Baptize Small Children? (a different article)