April 3, 2018 by eneubauer
Have your kids ever been unruly at Mass? Have you heard stories of folks, interested in Catholicism, who tried to come with their children but felt it was a bridge too far because of behavior? During the Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper through the Easter Vigil) my children were giving me fits. As a matter of fact, my sons (ages 4 and 5) were so busy I was having a very hard time concentrating. Truth be told, I was super excited about this year’s Triduum and spending time at Mass with my family. However, with that expectation came frustration at the untamed busyness my children exhibited during Holy Thursday Mass. It felt as if they were “stealing” my “quiet time with God.” Suffice it to say, I was having a hard time.
Hey, it’s not like we don’t talk about Catholicism, what we believe, why we believe it and the importance of Mass with our kids. My wife is a master at the pre-Mass conversation. It goes something like this.
(Heather) What do we do at Mass? (Children) We listen with our ears and our quiet with our mouths. (Heather) Why is Mass important? (Children) Because we celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross. (Me) It is our opportunitiy to spend some quiet time with Jesus. Simple!
This system works for us! Our kids are generally good except when they are not. Anyways, Holy Thursday was just one of those days, until…
We had just received communion and came back to our seats. I immediately knelt and began praying with my eyes closed in hopes that my children would follow. I needed to squeeze in at least a moment of peace. Admittedly, I was bubbling inside – distracted and frustrated.
When I was finished praying I looked up and encountered my children…praying. Actually, quietly, reverently praying! Score. Instantly, it was as if my frustration melted away and I sat back and watched. At that moment I think God was reminding me of just how important patience is in parenting.
Kids will be kids but they are much smarter and more perceptive then we think. They watch and catch more “teaching” then we give them credit for. Simply put, children are amazing and sometimes just need the space to express themselves and the faith that is growing within. Indeed, they do need our guidance and gentle redirection. But they also need room to grow and a family unit that encourages them to discover and become that man or woman God has created them to be. This moment reminded me that I need to chill out.
The lesson, be slow to anger and quick to love.
Peace. Happy Easter. He is risen indeed.