Kids misbehave in church. A fellow-ette WP blogger just shared the story of how her nine year old boy pouted demonstratively in church this past weekend, drawing a picture of her and stabbing it with her pen. An exorcist may have been in order. She asked her readers to share their own stories of their kids misbehaving in church. That should be a simple task for any churchgoing parent, eh? Not so simple for me. The church I attend has it’s own “Kid’s City” program and most kids don’t see the inside of the adult auditorium during weekend services until they get to high school. Alyssa has been going to services with us for a few years, Nate the freshman just started attending with us this month.
I should have plenty of kids misbehaving in church stories, ought to tell the story of the time that I threw a fit when the communion trays were passed because I wanted some of that grape juice snack. My dad dragged me down the middle aisle between the wooden pews by one arm as I kicked and screamed, then out the big wooden doors and down the concrete steps. Our car was parked in front, the doors didn’t close on their own. Dad wailed on me as the church watched, then guided me in front of him with the tears pouring down my face and dripping off of my chin (but quietly), back up the middle aisle to our seat. It was a small town church. I swear that people started clapping in appreciation for my dad.
I wasn’t going to tell that story. Oops. Should I tell stories from when I was a youth minister now?
Nate’s first adult church service with us was ‘tough’ for him to stomach. After fifteen minutes, he decided he had enough, excused himself to the bathroom and didn’t come back. After waiting ten minutes for him, I turned to Miriam and said “This is not acceptable”, started to get up from my seat to go retrieve our son. Miriam, with a horrified look on her face, put her hand on my arm to stop me.
“It’s OK. Just let him stay out there.”
“No. It’s NOT acceptable.” And my voice began to raise beyond a whisper. Was she really going to let it be like that?
“I’ll go get him. You stay here.”
There were no big wooden doors at the back of the auditorium, no concrete steps, and in today’s social climate I was not going to wail on my son. From the look in Mir’s eyes, however, it was obvious she thought I might. She already thinks I have too much of my father in me, something I don’t understand. My father is a very good, intelligent man who most of the time made the correct decisions when he raised me. Dad wasn’t afraid to discipline, didn’t let me control the situation, because he knew the importance of teaching me by expecting me to behave like a young man. All I was going to do was retrieve our son, stress the importance of staying in church — and behaving like a young adult. Mir pushed past me, over Alyssa, and ten minutes later returned with our brooding son.
There may be more stories to come….