The value of a faith-based community in childrens lives cannot be overestimated. When a child grows up with the knowledge that he or she belongs to a family that in turn belongs to a larger group of "parents" and "siblings," it offers the young one an unparalleled breadth and depth of developmental opportunities.
In an age and society where role models for children are in short supply, community living presents youngsters with multiple examples of good folks to imitate. By definition community consists of different personality types all striving to discover and live out what it means to be faithful. Children growing up in such a varied environment cannot help but profit and prosper.
True, it seems at times that the young ones fail to take in the lessons offered by community members. Experience teaches, however, that children rarely miss the living lessons around them. This is especially true in the intense environment that community presents. We know of a young woman who grew up in a community without seeming to take much interest, much less share in its life. However, her application essay for college centered on the rich diversity of personalities that she had observed over the years at the common dining table.