The wise and witty Patrick Madrid has a great post over at his blog today on the age old dilemma of noisy kids in Mass. If I had a dollar for every time this topic has come up in the Catholic blogosphere, I could like afford to buy myself that iPad I've been so desperately wanting! But the truth is, we keep talking about this topic because -- like so many other things about our Church -- it's universal! Little kids are challenged to sit through Mass, moms may become frustrated and feel self conscious, and elderly parishioners whose prayers are disrupted can be less than charitable. On any given Sunday morning, it's happening all across the world in a variety of languages.
I concur 100% with Patrick Madrid's suggestion that charity and patience are needed on both sides of this equation. I have "been there and done that", having likely parented two of the most rambunctious toddlers ever to grace the pew of a Catholic Church. My kids were horrible in Mass, and I often felt on the verge of tears trying to keep them under control. Since I was frequently in church by myself with them, leaving gracefully and quietly involved a true production. Somehow, by the grace of God, we got through those years intact.
I don't have a solution, only prayers and well wishes for the moms and dads who are currently in the trenches. A few practicalities - sit near the front, so your kids can engage with the liturgy. I get distracted if I sit too far back, and I'm not two! Arrive early enough that you can sit in an "escape pattern" and please try to be considerate of those around you if your little one goes crazy. For your own spiritual fulfillment, read the liturgy of the word prior to going to Mass, since you likely won't hear too much of it on Sunday. Be calm - I swear, our kids can smell our annoyance, and seem to thrive on it! Be patient with other members of the Body of Christ who may not be charitable towards you - it's likely that they too have their own crosses to bear. And know that this too shall pass. If you persevere, you will be rewarded with a family that is unified in the Eucharist. And that's a beautiful thing...
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Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Visit Lisa's author page on Amazon.com.