Sunday, June 24, 2007

Children in Church, not always (or usually not always) problem free

Anonymous commented the following to my post titled Children in Church:

Please understand that not all young children are as amenable to sitting
quietly in a pew as yours have been.

To read the entirety of her comments see them here. I think the Anonymous commenter had some good points, and I totally can relate to much of what she said from my own experiences with my children in church. I want to emphasize that my little children do not sit as angels during Mass. It is a struggle each and every time we go. Some of them have had better behavior track records than others have had, and we have had periods where it was easier or more difficult due to the ages of the children at different times. Often too, I am distracted by parenting and miss the readings or homily (it helps to pray over the readings ahead of time). And, I agree, although it cannot be helped to be somewhat of a distraction, it is important to be mindful of others, and take the children out as soon as they are too disruptive.

However, it is worth it. Attending Mass as a family is so worth it. We have always had some medley of baby/toddler/preschooler, and usually all three, presenting some variety of trouble during Mass, so if we decided we wouldn't attend with the troublesome one(s) in tow, we wouldn't be attending as a family, ever. Making the commitment to taking your children to Mass and attending as a family will bring grace and blessings to you and your children. You may not feel it each Sunday, but over time you will see the fruits of this commitment. Further, you would be surprised, my husband and I have walked out of Mass with beads of sweat on our foreheads due to !&%#& behavior, but still people manage to comment on the good (!?) behavior of our children. I think we parents notice much more than the people around us.

And another little help -- practice at home, then practice at church, then move on to practicing at daily Mass (it's shorter). Set up little chairs at home or line them up on a couch and have the kids learn to sit with their hands folded. See how long they can do it, keep adding a few minutes each day, then reward! Take that skill they learned at home to church and have them practice sitting in a pew in an empty church the same way and see how long they can do it. Then try to go to daily Mass sometimes. This training will help, and children can learn, they really can. In addition, this sitting quietly practice will help in all kinds of settings -- the bank, the library, all kinds of places. Sure, it is definitely not always problem free - I'm no fool, but concentrated training does help. God Bless!

Peace, Hope