I love reading peoples suggestions on incorporating and training children to be good and attentive at Mass. I love the inspiration I get and the feeling that my efforts are one day going to pay off, but I have to let you in on a little secret – for a long time I was doing it wrong. For us.
Kendra is one of my favorites for straight up, no nonsense advise about kids. I don’t even do half the stuff she does with her kids – we have different styles, demands on our time, personalities and number of kids so naturally our homes and techniques are going to look different. But oh have I been trying to live up to her advice when it comes to kids in church.
Some of it has been spot on. Getting better about regular attendance, dressing nicely, sitting up front, when to take a fussy baby or toddler out and when to lay down the law and tough it out, but try as I might, not all of it has been working for us and then I realized – oh hey, wait a second…that’s not my family! No matter what I need to be doing what works for us.
We have a unique situation that because of schedules Saturday Vigil is it if we’re all going to go as a family. There’s one Mass at the perfect time (not too close to when I get off work or too late in the night), but it’s still not ideal. It’s at 5:15 p.m.. For us this is usually around the time when either all he** is breaking loose or about dinner time, but it’s this or nothing. On the occasions when we do get a chance to go to a regular Sunday morning Mass I notice that our plan of attack gets to be much different. 11 a.m. Mass and 5 p.m. Mass can be totally different experiences for us just based on things like being well rested and well fed so I’ve finally given in to the idea that I need to alter my expectations for our Vigil Mass.
This is how we survive the apocalypse that can be Saturday Vigil Mass.
What Works: We try to get to church early enough that we have time to run around and cool down. By this point in the day we’ve been playing for hours and the sudden change from active to sitting can be rough. We have a long walk from the car to the front door and I give H. free reign to nicely run around for about five minutes, slowly working our way to the door. Once we’re inside we ideally have enough time to wind down before things actually get started. Running around a bit afterwards seems to help as well.
What Doesn’t Work: Bursting into the church with only a few minutes to go before the processional. Instant recipe for grumpiness all around.
Thanks to toning it down a little on what works for others and focusing on what works for us we have started thriving in Saturday Vigil Mass. What works for you?