Sunday morning rolls around and the alarm goes off. You stumble out of your morning snooze and peek into your kids' bedrooms. They're sleeping soundly and you wonder if it's really worth waking them up to go to church. With school and all their activities they have so few chances to sleep in. But in your heart you know they need church, too. So you persevere and tell them it's time to get ready. They're not happy about this. The bed is warm and sleep feels so good. The whining kicks in.

Or you may face this scenario. It's Sunday morning and the alarm goes off. You see the sun shining and think this is the perfect day for that hike up the mountain, or a chance to ski down it. The kids would have so much fun. You rationalize, "This would be a good family time. We need to have fun together, and the kids would really enjoy it." It seems to have more appeal than a sermon from the pulpit. Like an industrial size magnet, temptation is pulling you toward the mountain. But then that little voice inside says, "The preacher will not be on the mountain. They need to learn about God." You know that you and they need to be in church.

Here are seven reasons why you and your children need to attend church or synagogue on a regular basis.

1. One of the Ten Commandments is, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Attending church is showing obedience and honors God's holy day. This is a day to rest from our usual labors and to enjoy a place of peace and solace.

2. At church you learn what God expects of you and how you should treat others. It gives you and your children a moral compass.

3. Research has shown that children who attend church regularly, significantly reduce the likelihood of using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, or being involved in crimes. That alone is reason enough for taking your place in the pews.

4. Attending church puts you in touch with a community of like-minded friends. Associating with people who also believe helps you find lasting friendships with other caring adults. It also gives children a pool of good and decent friends to associate with.

5. It provides opportunities to serve others, not only for adults but for children. When children learn to care about others and have the opportunity through service projects the church provides, they learn the joy of looking beyond themselves to the needs of others.

6. Through sermons and lessons you learn how others in the past struggled through life's challenges and made it. You gain strength from their stories, as well as those of fellow church-goers who share their own experiences of overcoming difficulties. Through these associations your faith is strengthened.

7. It helps you live a happier more productive life. When you are grounded by moral principles taught at church you have a greater possibility of achieving worthy goals, making your life richer and fuller.

Make it a habit

If it's a weekly habit it will be much easier, and the rewards will be greater. Prepare the night before by helping the kids choose and set out appropriate clothes, take a Saturday night bath, and anticipate the opportunity of attending church as a family. Make it a joyful occasion. If children see parents enjoying activity in the church, they will be more likely to follow that example throughout their lives.

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