So I am many days delayed on this, but I’ll still vent. You people who let your children bring their whole freaking toy box with them to church (and you know who you are), need to lay up off. Please, I beg you, consider the other people sitting around you.
Case in point: a few weeks ago, Brandon and I arrived at mass in just enough time to squeeze into one of the few remaining seats. We sat between two families of multiple children. The children I was sitting next to were fine. They were squirmy, but they’re kids, and mass ran long, so that’s totally understood. Overall, they were well-behaved. But the kids sitting next to Brandon were ridiculous. As if their toys and coloring books and gadgets were not enough to entertain them, one of them (sitting directly next to Brandon) insisted on lying sideways on the pew and kicking Brandon throughout mass.
If you know my husband, you can guess how well that went. If you don’t know him… let’s just say I was surprised the kids didn’t get added to the offertory basket and passed along to the next pew.
We’ve been to many different churches throughout our relationship, and with the exception of the one on campus at college, the rest have been swarming with children. This is no surprise, but what does surprise me is the number of parents who let their children bring action figures, coloring books, snacks, and all sorts of other gadgets with them to church each Sunday.
In the past few months, I’ve watched a child color on a pew (while her father watched), a toddler drop her toy repeatedly into another pew to see how many times another churchgoer would hand it back, and numerous children (not just babies & little kids) happily snacking along. I was appalled the day I saw a girl who looked to be about 10 reading “Bridge to Terabithia” during mass. I mean, seriously? At 10 years old, you can’t just pay attention to the priest?
This is the reason that there are nurseries at churches. If your child cannot sit relatively quietly for an hour, don’t make the rest of us sit by idly. Heck, if your kid can sit quietly with a toy for an hour, bring the darn toy and let them amuse themselves. But please be aware of the distraction factor that your child has on the rest of the congregation when they start throwing toys, dropping Cheerios in the pew (that I’ll inevitably sit on next week), chewing on crayons, and constructing battles with their army men on the kneelers.
I like children. Truly, I do. And I’m sure there are plenty of parents who think that there’s nothing wrong with loading up every Barbie in the house and bringing it with them each Sunday morning. Maybe I’d be a better Christian if I could focus on the Gospel while some bratty kid wipes boogers onto my purse. But, parents, I implore you, think about other parishioners before you let your kid run wild up and down the aisles of the church. While some folks might be giggling at the cute little kid, the rest of us just wish you’d introduce a little discipline to their lives.