Saturday, March 28, 2009

Somebody's Soap Box

The following is a real e-mail sent to all the sisters in our ward as a reply to another sister sending out a link with Conference activities for kids. I was curious what everyone's thoughts were on what she wrote. Here's her soap box:

Great idea Mary Ann! Thank you for providing this to the sisters. It is a fantastic idea to provide something for the kids to keep them quiet for the long sessions.

I never attend conference any more because the children were so noisy and disruptive that I would be mad and frustrated by the time I would leave. If you are in the back of the chapel, that’s the “play area.” When I did try to attend in years past, I was anything but “spiritually uplifted” from attending the conference. What is so frustrating is the inconsiderate attitude of the parents. They are so accustomed to “tuning out their kids” they are totally obvious to how rude and inconsiderate it is to the other adults in attendance. Not to mention how inconsiderate and rude it is to the speakers who took the time to study and prepare something spiritual for us.

I must give credit to the thoughtful parents that do take the time to teach their kids what behavior is acceptable at church and what is not appropriate when reverence is required. I really appreciate the parents who do take out their children when they are being disruptive and noisy whether that is in Sacrament meeting, Sunday School and/or Relief Society. This sets an example to the other children, too. It doesn’t need to be just crying that requires removal, but having a good noisy “happy” time, too is not reverent. I remember spending the first two years of each of my children’s life in the hallway at church. I don’t recall having the speakers in the hallway 40 years ago like we have now. I know it isn’t easy, but that is what parenting is all about. After all, if you can’t control your toddlers, what will you do when they become teenagers and they’re bigger that you???? At least my teenagers were bigger than me! Back in the “old days” we didn’t have “Nursery class” so we had 3 years to teach the kids how to behave at Church while we stayed in the hallway or visited the bathroom for a little more “encouragement”!

It seems as though some of the problems of noise from the children are carried into Sunday School and Relief Society classes, too, i.e. giving them noisy toys to shake and bang. It’s as if the parents see that they aren’t crying they’re not causing a disturbance when they are laughing and banging their noisy toys such as trucks or their mom’s keys. They do make “quiet” toys which would be more appropriate for Church. Again, I’m sure this is because the parents are accustomed to “tuning this noise out.” Also, I think the moms know that most of us have gone though this, too so we should “understand”. However, this is no excuse. Just because we are grandparents now, doesn’t mean that we love being entertained by those happy, playful toddlers and/or fussy babies! Again, the purpose of going to Church on Sundays is to hear and learn the lessons that are presented to us and to spiritually lift us. We did not get dressed and drive all the way to Church on Sunday to be entertained by babies and toddlers.

When we leave Church on Sunday we should be able to keep the Sabbath Day holy. We should be strengthened to the point that we can deal with all the issues that will face us for the next six days as we go about our daily lives. I think of how often I will reflect on a message I received at Church in a lesson or talk that helps me keep in perspective why we are here and what we are supposed to be accomplishing.

I know I’m not the only “Grandma” that feels this way. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt any ones feelings that reads this, but I felt strongly that I needed to express this.

Comments anyone?? Love to hear them!

11 comments:

Charis said...

quite frankly, i have asked many people about my Kendell and they all tell me she is fine. i try to bring quite church related activities, IE books about Christ, for her to do. however, i also think that it is the responsibility of the ward to help with everyone's children. the mom's take care of them all week, so why not allow a grandma to hold the fussy baby, so that the mom can have some Sunday school lesson as well. I think the sister is very insensitive and very self absorbed, and maybe bitter. part of our jobs as parents is also to teach our children how to sit in class, and sacrament meeting, and how are we suppose to do that if the second they make any peep at all we stand up and leave with them. that is not teaching them how important it is to sit and listen. now, i do agree that if a child is laughing ferociously and be very irreverent, then they should be taken out, however if they are behaving as well as any three year old or two year old or how ever old they are can, then that is the time to teach them. One of my good friends in the ward has a four year old autistic boy. He has just recently been diagnosed as such, so his behavior has been a mystery to many for years. but he loves to run around, and turn on and off the lights in church. Many people get frustrated with his mom for not being able to control him during church. and then there were other people who politely started to help. when he took off running down the isle, they would pick him up and hold him, or take him out, when he was running around the parking lot we would take him back in. his mother would be shortly behind him. but the point is, that she isn't as fast as he is. who is? and by the time Sunday rolls around she is exhausted from chasing him all week, she probably needs the break and the spiritual upliftment more than anyone in the whole ward. if one person takes him one week, and another takes him the next, then we are only missing one meeting in a month instead of missing them all, if we can help exhausted mothers out at church then we are doing as the lord wants. Would the lord be sending the children away? no. when he was exhausted and hadn't slept in days, that is when he asked for the children to come near. In fact I bet if anything he would be changing his talk to entertain them more so they are more inclined to learn what the spirit feels like. and let the adults learn from that too.

sherrie bebe said...

Thank you Charis!! That's the thought I had also (after a little bit of defensive venting...and my kids are pretty good). What would Jesus do?? Surely he wouldn't shoo them out! He'd bring the children to his knee and lend a hand to the spiritually starved mother. Isn't the reason we go to church to become more like Christ? Maybe we need to do a little less preaching/sitting on our backsides and actually do what Christ would do!!

Aimee said...

It makes me wonder if she ever actually had kids.... But really, everything you guys said is amazing. Spirit of the law vs. Letter of the law. Does she mean she doesn't even go to general conference anymore because of it? So because she might be interrupted in church she just decides not to go? I believe the saying goes something like, "Do not cut of your nose to spite your face." Mom will know the real version. But yeah...that was weird.

Coach Ann said...

Part of the problem is the interpretation of the degree of disruption. I think the writer is right that there are some parents whose kids run rampant with little regard from their parents. However, one mother in my ward has adopted several children with varying degrees of special needs. The members are fabulous to work with her and them. It is unrealistic to expect a child to be silent during a meeting, but they can be trained on acceptable behavior. We took our kids out and put them on the coat rack. If their goal was to get out of the meeting, then they didn't get much of a reward. I also agree that there should be fun, quiet church toys. They are only for church so they are special.

The parents need to be considerate of those around them and those without children need to be understanding. We can't know all of the circumstances --just like with the autistic boy in Charis' ward.
Parents, be responsible, others be loving.

Sparky said...

It makes me thankful to live in Utah where I can sit at home in my pajamas and watch conference and the kids can do whatever they want in the confines of my own home! Yes i know i don't have any kids, but i have siblings...
I think that everyone should take their kids to her to take care of since she has all of the answers and obviously had perfect kids herself!
And now conference is streamed online so she can listen to it online if she doesn't like it.

don&janet said...

Such a very interesting discussion! Yes, children can be disruptive, and yes parents can take them out. I don't feel that because my children are raised that it is my time to sit back and soak it all in! I believe I have a responsibility (and I do it gladly!) to offer my assistance to moms needing a hand rather than an eye! I also have to say that it is not only the children that can be disruptive. I have been far more frustrated with adults!

Sparky said...

http://www.mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=7039

What a coincidence that there would be an article about this exact thing in the Mormon Times this week!

Mary Karlee said...

I'm glad I can leave a comment here because obviously I didn't want to respond to Longwood Ladies....
So, I think she is going a little overboard to tell you the truth. I don't think our ward is overly noisy and if she thinks the kids are too loud in the back, she should sit in the front! My parents once lived in a ward where the Bishop hired a Seventh Day Adventist to run a nursery during Sacrament Meeting so all parents could attend without any disruptions from kids. My Dad didn't think it was right and still brought his toddlers in to Sacrament. I think it's good for the little ones to learn early how to behave in church. We all need to use our judgment as to when to take our kids out, but really there is strength in sitting together as a family even if a lot of the time we don't hear all of the talks. And for the record, your kids are great during church. You don't need to worry about her comments.:)

erica e said...

oh holy cow! how did i miss this? where to begin? young mothers need the lessons and talks in church just as much as grandmothers do. i love what charis said about the Savior asking for the children to come close to him. this is so judgemental it borders on ridiculous.

Jennie said...

First of all, I agree with everyone else. Second of all I agree with the lady because there are some kids who are disruptive and allowed to do whatever they want. However, to the lady who thinks church is for learning lessons and that kid’s only distract others with their noises—if that is true then there is no reason for me to go to church because I would spend all my time in the hall because I would not be learning in an effort to not distract her from learning. Besides, if the kids want to go out, then they know that all they have to do is cry and they get what they want. Good parenting? No. Yes, there are some parents who really don’t control their kids, but really. Cute happy noises? I think she has a problem if she can’t concentrate in the presence of that. Maybe she should attend a singles ward.

Cooper Squared said...

Sherrie, it is emails like this that make people want to leave the church. This is sooo not what it is about!