Author Topic: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?  (Read 6466 times)

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CakeEater

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2013, 12:28:39 AM »
Crying infants were taken out temporarily by a parent or caretaker. Everyone else was expected to (and made to) sit, quietly -- doodling or tic-tac-toe were acceptable, as was reading the program/prayerbook/songbook. If you HAD to get up for a bit, a "bathroom break" was an acceptable excuse to stretch your legs or wander for a minute, OUTSIDE the area where the ceremony was taking pace.

I was the eldest, so I can't report on my own behavior, but I do remember my toddler siblings being held to these standards. It was harder at some times than others.

All that said ... it's not up to the audience to offer a "hush!" or give the stink-eye to disruptive people.

My two are two and four. I'd dearly love to know how to 'make' them sit quietly through our 90 minute service. I try, I promise. The four-year-old is pretty good now, but still gets a bit bored and restless. The 2-year-old is oblivious to stink-eye, shushing, and what he desperately wants is to go outside. Even if we did go out and he calmed down, there'd be no coming back in without lots of wailing. Plus the whole, givet him exactly what he wants, thing.

I'm pretty lucky - our pastor comes down hard on the side of, 'We want kids and families here - no-one is to give them stinkeye,shush them or in any was show displeasure at noisy kids.' You'd be considered rude at our church, OP, sorry.

That being said,no-one, including me lets their kids run riot in our church. You just can't make some toddlers sit still for 90 minutes.

I would also remove my kids if they were being disruptive during a special ceremony in our service - baptism, first communion etc. But I do my best to keep them quiet and distracted during regular services, but I don't take them outside during those.

I personally tink church is a very different situation than many other situations. I would never advocate taking a squirmy child to the theatre or a fancy restaurant. Church isn't just a performance, though, that's totally optional. It's the worship service of a religion, and those include the children of that religion and the embarrassed parents trying hard to keep their kids quiet, while missing most of what's being said.

If, while attempting to be a dedicated member of my faith, by doing what feels like running a marathon on a Sunday morning (ie sitting through church with squirmy kids trying to keep them quiet), someone indicated that their hearing every word of the sermon was more important than my best attempts, I'd be pretty upset.

katycoo

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2013, 03:12:59 AM »
Here is my view:

Church is a place where children should be welcomed.

THat does not mean the parents should make no attempts to keep their children as controlled as possible, but I don't think merely their age should ever bar them from attendance and participation.

CakeEater

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2013, 04:53:53 AM »
Here is my view:

Church is a place where children should be welcomed.

THat does not mean the parents should make no attempts to keep their children as controlled as possible, but I don't think merely their age should ever bar them from attendance and participation.

Wow - I wish I'd written this instead of what I wrote.  :)

MariaE

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2013, 05:36:06 AM »
Here is my view:

Church is a place where children should be welcomed.

THat does not mean the parents should make no attempts to keep their children as controlled as possible, but I don't think merely their age should ever bar them from attendance and participation.

Hear, Hear!! :)
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2013, 08:49:17 AM »
While I agree church should be a place for everyone to feel welcome, screaming, crying, yelling, running around disruptive behavior, by anyone of any age, is still not acceptable.  If a child cannot sit still or is being loud, they need to be taken out of the situation until they can calm down.   The disruptive elements rights do not supersede the rights of others to be able to hear the sermon and to be able to worship in a peaceful setting.  My friends DD would coo and scoot on the floor of their back pew and it was fine, but a few times she was just not able to handle the whole hour service and a family member would take her for a walk out in the vestibule where they could hear the service and she could move around and get her wiggles out without disrupting the service.  There were places I would have loved to go when either of my DD's were toddlers, but as good as they behaved, I knew it would be long and boring and so we didn't go...sometimes parents have to make those tough decisions about whether to include their kids or waiting to try something when they are a little older.

esposita

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2013, 10:51:05 AM »
Here is my view:

Church is a place where children should be welcomed.

THat does not mean the parents should make no attempts to keep their children as controlled as possible, but I don't think merely their age should ever bar them from attendance and participation.

Hear, Hear!! :)

Yes.

In my small church, children in all their varying moods are not only welcomed, they are members. There is no kid's service for them during the main service because they are participating, noises and all. You would know this pretty quickly once attending. I know that pretty much everyone smiles when a baby coos, or when a toddler suddenly yells a key word they just heard in the sermon. Sometimes, having kids in the service means that one of them throws a fit, and the parents are probably more bothered by it than anyone else; usually everyone is trying their best to keep from laughing or smiling until the kid is removed because they don't want the kid to know that everyone thinks its kind of cute/funny. There is a give and take, and no one abuses this. There aren't any parents who would let their kids run wild, but there aren't any members who would give parents a hard time for normal kid behaviour.

TootsNYC

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2013, 11:21:35 AM »

I'm pretty lucky - our pastor comes down hard on the side of, 'We want kids and families here - no-one is to give them stinkeye,shush them or in any was show displeasure at noisy kids.' You'd be considered rude at our church, OP, sorry.


My old pastor felt this way as well--and said it from the pulpit many times. And then Mary Cooke, this little old "biddy"-looking lady, would make a beeline for parents right after the service with a specific message in mind: "It's tough being the parent of a toddler, but we're glad your child is IN the service, and you shouldn't feel too self-conscious if your child makes a little bit of disruption." And then she'd coo over the baby.

Here's what that pastor put up on Facebook this week: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-bruesehoff/parents-kids-church_b_3909085.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

So yeah, truly out-of-line, playing, rowdy behavior? The parent needs to do something. But if that "something" means there's sort of a lot of noise right now, then oh well--at my congregation, the church is a family.


EllenS

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2013, 12:33:16 PM »
I think there's a big difference between regular worship services, and a special ceremony for a particular purpose.  If OP's aunt was being commemorated within the context of a regular service, then the particular culture of that church for a normal service and its expectations of children, should apply.

If it was a special ceremony/concert/memorial separate from regular services, then a higher standard of formality should prevail.

I also think it makes a difference whether the parents in question were members, or visiting just for the commemoration.  It may just be a culture clash where different expectations of what is "proper" in church ran into each other.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2013, 03:10:19 PM »

I'm pretty lucky - our pastor comes down hard on the side of, 'We want kids and families here - no-one is to give them stinkeye,shush them or in any was show displeasure at noisy kids.' You'd be considered rude at our church, OP, sorry.


My old pastor felt this way as well--and said it from the pulpit many times. And then Mary Cooke, this little old "biddy"-looking lady, would make a beeline for parents right after the service with a specific message in mind: "It's tough being the parent of a toddler, but we're glad your child is IN the service, and you shouldn't feel too self-conscious if your child makes a little bit of disruption." And then she'd coo over the baby.

Here's what that pastor put up on Facebook this week: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-bruesehoff/parents-kids-church_b_3909085.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

So yeah, truly out-of-line, playing, rowdy behavior? The parent needs to do something. But if that "something" means there's sort of a lot of noise right now, then oh well--at my congregation, the church is a family.

I like that article.  I know sometimes I do feel that way when I have the youngest one in my arms during the second half of the service and I'm trying to hush him so other people can hear what's going on.  Once, in carrying him to the back of the church, I was standing next to the father of three kids and he said "Don't worry about it, we've all been there at some point and he'll learn."

And both our priest and the chalice bearers shake their head and chuckle or laugh at how excited he gets about taking communion.

But that said, during Holy Week we do have some very quiet and serene services where nursery is not available and as my oldest was assigned to be an acolyte one of those evenings, we had to go and trying to keep the little guy quiet was kind of tough and I was in and out of the sanctuary quite a bit that evening.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Cami

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2013, 04:14:55 PM »
I understand the point about making everyone welcome at church. However, I think there are limits. Or at least, I have limits on what I'll accept when I'm trying to worship, just as I have limits on what I'll accept in a movie theater, etc.  Being welcoming does not, IMO, mean accepting every behavior all the time.  Just as I am welcoming to guests in my home, but I wouldn't accept Johnny jumping on my furniture.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2013, 04:36:43 PM »
I do agree, Cami as I do think there's definitely a line.  Me, I'm fine with a kid's coo or the sound of a small child asking their parents what's going on during the service and the parents whispered answer. 

But if a kid's making it hard to hear the sermon (one of my favorite parts, as our priest gives rather interesting and thought-provoking ones) or disrupting what's supposed to be a quiet and serene part of the service, I will get annoyed and if it's mine I'll take said child out.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

White Lotus

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2013, 03:35:43 PM »
Esposita -- that is how it works at our temple.  How will the kids learn the practice if they aren't taught, if they don't grow up with it as a regular and normal part of life?  There is always a "baby and little kid" section that develops almost spontaneously, not always in the same area, and everybody smiles when a child doesn't get it quite right.  They are learning, that's all.  Screamers and tantrum throwers are of course removed, but that happens very seldom, and I think that is because they grow up with it and it surrounds them from infancy.  And before, actually.

DistantStar

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2013, 07:30:02 PM »
I think they strike a good balance at my church - children are always welcome, but they do have Sunday School during the announcements and sermon part of the service.  So they get several Bible readings plus a couple of hymns or so then they leave (should they desire, they are welcome to stay) and come back after the sermon for Communion.  And there is a cry room/nursery at the back of the sanctuary with glass walls plus a speaker system.

Kids making kid noises are generally greeted with amusement and understanding.  Heck, our priest (I'm Episcopalian) has two kids of his own, so he knows that kids are kids.

Honestly, a cell phone going off is way more disruptive for me than a child making noise!


Piratelvr1121

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2013, 06:50:24 AM »
I've seen my priest smile a bit at the little ones during the service. Once the mother of a 3 year old told our priest that they sat in the back because he was constantly asking questions about what she was doing and Rev. A invited them to come closer to the front so he could see better.

And I saw her once trying not to laugh as she was preparing for communion and Piratebabe let out kind of a loud "WOW!!!!!" She's had kids and grandkids and enjoys them quite a bit so she's quite understanding.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

katycoo

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Re: How young is too young to attend a long service/ceremony?
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2013, 11:46:15 PM »
The two ministers at my church are both women and one has young children.  Often when it is her turn to deliver the children's address before the kids break for sunday school, her message is delivered interspersed with parenting directions at her very spirited 5 year old.