Church on a Sunday morning must be an awkward situation for a parent with kids of any age.
“Will they make noise?
“Will they get bored and make a fuss?”
My wife and I have realised that you can make every kind of strategy to avoid these kind of situations, but once in a while it just happens, and the key question is how the heck do you deal with the situation?
Which brings me to the real situation I found myself in a few weeks ago.
It was just me and my eldest daughter (3yo). First time it being just us 2, so I had spent the morning mentally preparing 🙂
During the service, after coming back from “children’s church,” my daughter was reading a book, and was being really calm and lovely. In all honesty, I was actually more proud than I usually am.
But, pride comes before a fall…
Over the next 10 minutes, during the beginning of the Eucharist, she became more and more angry. She started to grunt, be visually frustrated, ultimately leading to being upset!
I picked her up and cuddled her, but she was still not happy.
So, when people started to go up to take Communion, I took the opportunity to take her to the back vestibule and ask her what was wrong.
Me: B, I can see that you’re angry and upset. Can you explain to me why you are angry and upset?
Daughter: You looked at me, five times….!
I paused for a few seconds to see whether she would explain why she was actually angry and upset.
That was it! Nothing more said! It turns out that she was angry and upset because I looked at her 5 times!
It was at this point, internally, that I thought, “WHAT?” I even had the urge to laugh! The people sitting behind me would have laughed their socks off if I told them what she told me!
But then I took a pause and thought, “She’s upset and angry. These are real feelings, that are valid.” So I paused, then thought about my response…
My response started with, “Sorry,” and saying that I didn’t know that it was upsetting her and that I would stop doing it. I then checked whether she was okie dokes, which she was. So we carried on up to the priest for Communion (well, a blessing really, as I’m not a Catholic and B isn’t old enough to receive communion yet).
I discovered 2 things from this experience…
- Always pause for a moment to think about how you will react, whatever your immediate thoughts are, whether those are anger, frustration, or as above, hilarity!
- I seem to be more calm when I’m on my own with the kids, which I’m hoping to discover the reason for sometime soon with more experience. I’ve only been a dad for just 3.5 years and I’m still getting the hang of it, and I’m guessing that may be the case for my whole life 🙂