Rut-row, I’m in rouble! (That’s my best Scooby impersonation!) I don’t know about you other moms and dads out there, so this week I will just come right out and ask you all: Have you and your children ever been “shushed in church”?
I guess maybe I should preface the course of events with a little explanation. When the Hott Family arrives to Sunday service, we are typically running a few minutes behind schedule. Managing to get four kids and one fiancé ready for Sunday church service is a little like brain surgery around our house. Oh, who am I kidding? We’re always, yes always late!
So, due to our persistent punctuality problems, we tend to sneak in the back door of the church and head right for the very back pew, all the way in the balcony; behind the entire congregation. This prime pew paradise is also great for large families like ours. Especially after cramming my Hott crew in over the last decade or so, we have filled the row with infants, toddlers, teenagers and all their belongings.
Not only have our immediate family members been known to bring along their favorite tag-along toys from Transformers to Bey Blades (electronics are NOT allowed in church), this larger than normal Hott Family also tends to attract a few extra kids somewhere along the way. It doesn’t matter if we all stealthily sneak in the back door or not! Nope. It never fails that somewhere along our journey to the very back pew, we tend to adopt a few extra children along the way.
I’m not quite sure how they know we have arrived either. But one or two (sometimes 3 or 4) extra kids show up in our vicinity. Cool, right? I love it!
And the fun begins! Here, just let me tell you, that I am one of those church nerds. Yep, that’s me. You see, I really like going to church on Sunday. Gone are the days when it felt like I had to drag myself and family to worship service. Somehow, somewhere along the way, a miracle happened: family worship service! When I glance around the pew and see my crew with all their friends nearby, well, this 46-year-old-grey-haired-hott-mama-of-four just gets the goosies. I know, it’s weird; but, the fact that I can bring my family to a welcomed worship environment hear a service that rocks, well, it’s just a blessing beyond belief.
And here’s the icing on the cake: my hott hubby Dan is right there with me and he seems to be alright with me and all my dorkiness. But there he is, usually on the left end where he can stretch his leg. (Now that probably doesn’t make sense. You see, Dan has Parkinson’s Disease and his left side is effected with distonia. Crowded areas and sitting for a long time can be a challenge for those with PD; so a place on the end of the pew where Dan can stretch and occasionally stand is important – another good reason to park the Hott family in the back.)
So, do you get the picture? Now, imagine yourselves entering church with the Hott family just last week. This, I must add, is the Sunday following a wild week of Vacation Bible School and my kids (and me) can’t wait to go to worship service. Needless to say, we get just a little bit excited (well, that’s wherever we go!).
This particular service is just a tad different. You see, the children ages kindergarten and up, are invited to stay rather than join the alternate service for children. So, here we are in the back of the church with our normal rowdy crowded crew. As we are listening to several very moving stories, I have needed to quite our budding second grader and his bubbly friend. With my own high tolerance for noise and commotion, I felt that they were being very well behaved and quite proud of them for their first time to remain in the service with the older kids.
Apparently, not all shared my pride. It was about 20 minutes in to the presentations when a gentleman turned around and spoke loudly to the boys: “knock it off, guys!” Huh? What happened? What did I miss?
Oh gosh! What was a comment directed to the children, I felt, was directed to me, the parent – unable to control her crew. I wanted to vanish. I would have crawled under the pew, or, if possible, shove all of us under! Instead, Dan took the boys downstairs not to be a further distraction for those in the congregation and, I found that I was left feeling embarrassed, uncomfortable, and frankly, maybe a little hurt.
Mostly, I felt terrible that I had hindered another’s worship experience and wish to express my heartfelt apology. I pray that my lack of attention did not prevent another’s opportunity to be closer to God. So, I ask, what should a mom do when their children are shushed in church? Well, plain and simple, apologize and seek forgiveness.
You know, if Jesus himself had been present, I can’t help but wonder how the kids would have behaved during service. Because for me, He is present, always, and that gets me (and the kids) excited!
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” – Matthew 19:14
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved