A reader recently asked me how I work to get my kids to be well behaved during Mass. I promised to answer it in a post.
But, here’s the thing — I don’t know actually know. They’re just good kids, generally.
When we converted, only Molly was still small (two years old). So, the boys sat through Mass just fine right away. We worked Molly up to sitting through it longer and longer.
By the time we were allowed to stay for the whole Mass (while we were doing the RCIA process, Eric and I had to go to a special class during the second half of the Mass), Molly could sit through a Mass without a problem (generally).
I will admit, however, that while I’m generally very easy going with the kids, I will come down on them hard on issues that I think are important. (I feel like it’s my job to raise them up to be good people, and that just means having to correct them sometimes.) So, because they know this, any time they even seem to consider misbehaving at Mass, I typically only have to get them “the look” and they’ll stop.
As a follow up to this question, the reader also wanted to know how I make sure they are really “getting it” and not just there. To encourage it, I try to make sure that they are doing all prayers and songs with us throughout the Mass, and acting with reverence toward Jesus. I also think it helps when they recognize readings that we’ve talked about at home.
Now, am I saying that the kids are some kind of perfectly behaved uber holy kids at Mass? No, they’re not. Am I trying to pretend that I have never sat at Mass and then realized that I was thinking about my grocery list? Sadly, I do find my mind wandering from time to time. It’s human nature, as your mind can just run faster than other people can talk. However, I do promise that we all do our best.
In addition to all these things, I hope that the kids see Eric and I demonstrating a real, true love for being there, so that will will help to show church as a good place to go. A place to refresh your soul and fill you in a way that helps you to take Jesus out in to the world. For that, I pray.