August 31, 2019

The Five Rules Of Parents, Children and Mass

1. The Julius Caesar Rule: Veni-Vidi-Vici.

Veni-Vidi-Vici does not mean "I came; I saw; I conquered". What Ole Julius really meant to say - in plain English, mind...not Latin - was this: I CAME to Church with my family; I SAW that my young toddlers were making lots of noise, fussing, crying and occasionally screaming; I CONQUERED my own desire to stay in the pew with the family, and removed myself and the child/children in question to the cry room or outside the building so as not to disturb others nearby, not the least of who may be the Celebrant himself. 

2. The Rule of Two.

Since it takes both man and woman to start the process of "family", it then follows that both parents will, generally speaking, want to attend Mass together, with their children. Great! Laudable! BUT...when the very young constantly become the very noisy, very fussy, very loud and very fidgety while at church, the Rule of Two needs to be invoked: Leave the younglings at home with one parent, while the other parent takes themself and any other older kids to Mass. The homebound parent can go to a later (or earlier) Mass, as the Mass times dictate. There is nothing in Church law or the bi-millennial Church teachings or Dogma that stipulate BOTH parents MUST go to Mass at the same time. (And yes, this would include keeping the location of the nearest and most conservative - in the Catholic sense - diocesan Mass in your back pocket to utilize in an emergency).

3. The Mr. Rogers Rule.

Mass is not a day-care. The pew is not a jungle-jim. The hymn books and missalettes are not Dr. Seuss books. The Nave is not a playground your child can roam around. During Mass is NOT the time for your toddler to munch on Cheerios. Your "Go Bag" is NOT a traveling toy box. 

Enough said...

4. The Sigmund Freud Rule

Adults can be a morning person - or not. Young children are simply adults who haven't grown up yet.  Hence, they cannot speak in plain English to let you know that THEY ARE NOT a morning person. You have discovered that your child is only fussy/noisy on Sundays, on which day you always go to the 7:30 AM Low Mass or the 9 AM High Mass. Every other day of the week they can wake up on their own, whenever they want, with their baby-blue eyes oozing love at you. You notice on Sunday, however, those same baby-blues are staring daggers at you for interrupting their sleep (and they quickly let you know about it in the now-formerly quiet Church). You are beside yourself as to why this always seems to happen, when a searing ray of heavenly light streams through the stained glass window over your shoulder and lands squarely upon your head: your child is telling you that they are NOT a morning person, and especially a Sunday morning person. After Mass, you both then decide to split your Mass schedule until the child is old enough to function - even marginally - as a morning person, which typically is about 4 or 5, but could be earlier. You just have to listen...

5. The WWJD Rule.

There is none. So don't try and apply it. You aren't Protestant.

Yes, he wants you to go to Mass. Yes, He wants you to receive Him and adore Him. Yes, He wants you to ask for help and to thank Him for favors received. But mostly, He wants you to take care of HIS children... and if that means that one of you have to miss Mass because your young child/children are constantly in a non-quiet state while there, then He will not hold that against you. 

I think. 

Better see Rule #2 above. 

Or better yet, ask a priest...just to be sure.
Lest someone get all flabbergasted by my seemingly flippant post, I should provide full disclosure and let you know that I am a Father of ten mostly stair-stepped children (now adults, obviously). That makes me an undisputed expert in all things relating to Mass and children's behavior. So there. 

Besides which...I got an "A" in Psych 101 in college.

Copyright 2019 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

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