And lead us not into temper tantrums

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,” but are parishes today welcoming them (and their weary parents)?

The angelic little tot, so cute in her Sunday best, is letting out some not-so-cute cries from the pew behind you. Do you: a) smile sweetly to yourself, realizing baby Jesus probably made a few peeps at temple, too? Or b) silently curse the wailing little cherub for interfering with your comprehension of the first reading?

Now her older brother is kicking the back of the pew. Dad tries to placate the pair with some Cheerios. One lands in your hair. Crrrunnnch: a few more find their way under your shoe. Do you: a) pray God gives you patience to endure the little devils for an hour? Or b) pray those parents start disciplining their kids before you do?

What’s that smell? Someone has a dirty diaper. And she’s not the only one. “I have to go potty,” her brother announces to the entire congregation, already straining to hear Father’s homily through the Romper Room din. Do you: a) offer to help the mother, remembering this is the family Mass, after all? Or b) offer to head up a committee to get rid of the family Mass for good?

Not long ago I was tempted to answer “b” to scenarios like these. Now I’m the mom with two toddlers, constantly chasing, shushing, and apologizing for my kids’ “spirited” (pardon the pun) behavior during Mass.

I could use some help—not just from priests and parish staff, but from all those curmudgeon Catholics out there glaring at our 2-year-old for acting, well, like a 2-year-old.  Read the article and take the quick survey

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