The impact Dad’s have in children going to church.
When I was a kid we always went to Mass each Sunday, though it was hard to keep my siblings together because our ages spanned over fifteen years. My oldest sibling is ten years older than me.
I also remember at church how Dad would step out of the pew to serve as an usher. And, as things changed with the worship, both my parent’s served as Ministers of the Eucharist. It was also important to be silent in church, or you’d hear about it when you got home.
My wife and I continued this with our children, though our practice in the pew was a bit different. Today our children are old enough to worship at their own parish, and God is very important in their lives.
Guys, it is really important that you lead your family to Mass. If you are leaving this for your wife to do, step up!
This all came to mind because now I spend a few times a year in the “cry room” when going to Mass. Because after I visit my spine doctor it takes a few days for my bones to settle, and it’s easier to sit in the chairs in the cry room than pull myself out of the style of pews we have in church. So I’ve noticed some things and suspect it might be this way in the cry rooms across the country.
Guys, it is really important that you lead your family to Mass. If you are leaving this for your wife to do, step up! A lot of times I hear, and see, that parents find it too much of a chore to bring our children to church and, when they get old enough, to just drop them off at religious education without going to Mass.
Research has proven that, although a Mother (a woman) nurtures her children, the decisions that a child makes throughout their lives is based on the positive example and leadership from their Father (a Man).
A Swiss study found that the one overwhelming pivotal factor is the religious practice of the father. Dads determine the church habits of their children, and thus, to a significant degree, their eternal destiny.
I remember when my children were young, there was another family at Mass who had at least seven children. The dad led them into the pew, and if one of the kids acted up they found his hand pull them over to sit next to him. If there was an outburst from the toddlers, they would be taken by mom out of the worship area, and dad always kept the kids (who were) in the pew to focus on the altar.
My wife and I were not this “strict”, but I have to admit this other family was impressive to watch.
My children were raised in the front pew (or at least one of the first three). The rule was that if they acted up we move to the back of the church. Of course this was after the toddler years, once we brought them out from the cry room. And so they didn’t act up that often.
Because the first times they did, I would bring them outside the doors, stand them against the wall, and remind them of the rules of being in the church asking if they want to move to the back. The other factor was they liked to watch all that was going on at the altar, which is the reason for being in the front pews.
When you sit more than half-way back in the pews with your children, they can’t always see what is going on, and this is cause of them to distract us during Mass. Our job as parents, I think, is make our children’s worship experience more important than our own, because it’s a few short years before they get older and out on their own.
We need to separate the cry room from the day care room.
This also applies to the cry room. Many times I find parents using the cry room today as a holding room for their own worship experience. They give their kids something to occupy them, usually a smartphone, that has nothing related to Jesus. Fortunately, my parish provides print-outs for coloring with illustrations of the days Gospel.
Once the child grows out of the baby carrier, this can be a time to teach them how to behave in church so that we can move the family from the cry room and into the pew. To do this, we need to separate the cry room from the day care room. And much of this can be established at home, before getting to church.
This is done by giving our time and nurturing in the cry room, instead of worrying about our own worship experience. Dad’s, if you page through a ‘Jesus book’ in church, this needs to be practiced each day at home so they know how to behave in church.
I’m sharing these nuggets of thought both from how I was raised, and the experiences from my wife and I both raising our own children.
We are responsible for the Souls of this generation.
Frank J Casella