Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jesus loves the little children

That's why he created Children's Church (AKA Kids Life at the Summit). So please parents, take advantage of it!

For the past two weeks I have not been able to concentrate in church. I really wanted to listen to the message. I got up early. I brought my Bible. I was ready to learn.

Last week we had two young kids right behind us. They were probably about 3 years old. And I learned 3 year olds can not sit still and be quiet for an hour. Surely their parents knew this. Surely they know their kids better than I do. Surely they knew they would not be able to sit still and be quiet and listen to an hour long sermon. So why oh why did they bring them?

Our church has a FREE Kids Life program where the kids get to be loud and play and learn about God in a much more age appropriate way. I do not understand why the parents would even come to church if they do not want to drop off their kids there. If I can't concentrate when your kids are talking and moving around and being kids, then I know you can't concentrate, so why even come?

Before going in church today we were talking about how we didn't want to sit anywhere near kids this week. I thought we had succeeded. We were half-way through worship and there was not a kid under the age of five in sight.

But then a couple walks down our aisle with a baby. Not a newborn who was sleeping, but one of those who has teeth, but can't walk yet. A fussy, impatient older baby and they plop down right beside me. This was going to be bad.

As predicted, we are about 5 minutes in to the sermon and the kid can't sit still and is making that high pitched fussy noise. I'm getting annoyed as the mom says "shhhh" and then something I never ever thought I would see in church happens.

She pops out her boob. Yes, that's right. In the middle of church, with middle schooled aged pre-pubescent boys all around us, this lady pops out her boob and lets the kid start breast feeding. No blanket over her. No embarrassment. Just a boob in a baby's mouth to keep him quiet.

I turned to Steph and whispered "Is she doing what I think she's doing?" With wide eyes Steph replies "yes". I try not to look. I try to redirect my attention. But really I just want to write on the back of my program "Not appropriate" and slide it over 3 feet to the woman with her boob out to let her know what we are all thinking.

This same scene repeats itself not once, but twice, for a total of 3 breast feedings before the baby finally starts screaming and people are turning around giving them the evil eye and she finally takes the kid out to the lobby for the remainder of the service.

Why oh why did they even come? Why get up early and get not only yourself, but the kid ready and come to church when you know you won't be able to leave your kid in the care of the lovely Kids Life staff so you can actually listen? You know just sitting in a church when your mind is elsewhere is not going to do you much good. And you are also ruining the experience for everyone within a 20 feet range of you.

So please if you have kids under the age of five, don't bring them in to hear the sermon, because I guarantee they won't listen. If you do bring your kids, don't sit beside me, because you will force me to give you a look that could kill and get up to find another seat far far away from you.

And never, ever, under any circumstance should you pop your boob out during church.


marathoner81 said...

I completely agree! I'm a mother and I have serious issues with people bringing their kids to inappropriate places where there's no chance that they will ever be able to make it through.

Also I had a friend who took a man he was interviewing for a job position and his wife out for dinner. Several other of his co-workers were there as well. In the middle of the dinner, the wife whips out her boob in front of everyone and breastfeeds her 2 year old kid (who was seemingly fine eating his grilled cheese sandwich.) I'm all for breastfeeding, but I think it's something that should be done privately.

Akirah said...

Why in the world would anyone think it's appropriate to pull out their boob in any public area, especially church? No one wants to see that...especially when there's a kid going to town on your milk!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had to go through that. It seems that satan can use the most unusual things as weapons against us (oh no, not the dreaded boob flop)! Women who breast feed openly, with no hint of modesty at all make me beleive that they are, at heart, exhibitionists. You want to save money on formula, you want a closer bond with you child...fine with me. Just don't make me go through that amazingly uncomfortable experience with you. Excuse yourself, be discreet, have some consideration for those around you and for goodness sakes know when to stop (I am fairly sure that any pediatrition will say that breastfeeding a two year old is just your obsession now) (and any older is just sick altogether). If it makes you feel any better Suz, our church is the same way with the kids. We have a whole wing of the building that we call "Adventure City" just for the kids, but way too many people will bring their babies, two, three, four and five year olds with them. Self absorption seems to be an uncurable disease in our society today...sadly even among Christians.

Anonymous said...

I am actually kinda shocked at this post!!! I am a mother who believes that it is not okay to take your children where they are not given the opportunity to get out some energy...however Church is a place where EVERYONE can go and worship as THEY choose! If I want my family together and don't want my child in another form of daycare THAT is up to me. If you don't like children in church that is a personal issue. I visited a new church just the other week and was uncomfortable leaving my child in a place that even I was not comfortable with just yet, I took my child out of the service when he began to wiggle and the snacks and toys were no longer appealing, but that was my choice as a parent. There are parents out there that assume that everyone loves their child and I am not one of those, but it is kind of sad that even in church we are judging others decisions on how to parent. Our generation has gotten way to concerned with what everyone else is doing, we need to leave that judgement to God and let everyone choose for themselves what is appropriate! I may not agree with everything that happened in your church that Sunday, but it is up to that individual how they parent or raise that child...

Anonymous said...

Distractions in church can be a real bummer. I often have a hard time paying attention; I'm kind of ADD. However, I have found a way to stay focused in church. You can apply the same principles you use in classroom learning to church. May I introduce to you the Learning T? You may have heard of this coveted seating area before, but just in case you haven't, let me enlighten you. The Learning T is the first few rows straight across the front of the room. In this case, it would be the first 5 or 6 rows/pews of your church. That makes the top of the T. The base of the T then extends back from the first few rows, creating a long column in the middle. If you're sitting in the Learning T, you're in the "learning epicenter." It is theorized that sitting in this area, closer to the speaker and the action on stage, enables you to remain better focused. My suggestion for this Sunday, pick a seat front and center. The closer you are to the teaching, the fewer distractions there are between you and God. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This is to Merideth if you are still reading. I don't think you are getting the point. Noone is telling you how to "raise your child", we are simply asking that you not allow said child to distract those around you while they are trying to receive whatever God has for them that Sunday. You say "but it is kind of sad that even in church we are judging others decisions on how to parent", but to me it is even sadder that some people think that since they have the ability to tune out the distractions of their own child then everyone else around them must also have that ability. In fact it is not a parenting issue at all, it is an issue of having respect for others. You are one of the few who will actually get up and leave when their child becomes an obvious distraction to those around them. Most don't seem to notice or care. How many times have I sat there trying to hear and understand what God was trying to tell me just to have a crying (or screaming) child make that almost impossible while the parent acts like nothing is happening. Raise your child any way you want (hopefully in a Godly manner), but please continue to have some respect for those in the seats around you as we try to receive the message that our King would send through the preacher.

Anonymous said...

God gave women breasts for the specific purpose of feeding children. If that offends people then that is not the fault of God, the woman or the child, imo. That is the fault of how caught up with sex our society has become that the simple act of brestfeeding a baby causes people to be uncomfortable.

As far as why people bother to get up, get ready and force their children to go to church knowing damn right well that they will not be able to "hear" the sermon is because for some reason people believe just the act of "going to church" means something. I'm not sure what they are trying to prove or get out of it, perhaps to keep up appearances, or maybe they think they will be saved just by showing up. Who knows what goes through anyone's mind? My feeling about church and religion in general is that it really shouldn't be this big dog and pony show. No big production. Either you have faith and live your life accordingly, or you don't. Too many people live a fake "Christian" life I think.

marathoner81 said...

Wow...nothing like jesus and boobs to get people fire up!

Camellia said...

I have known many women who breastfed in public. However, they always tossed a lightweight blanket over everything to preserve their modesty and other people's sensibilities. Oftentimes others would not even realize what was going on and simply thought the baby was sleeping.

And church isn't the only place I have seen children be allowed to disrupt the proceedings. I have seen the same things at weddings and funerals. I don't understand it myself, but then so-called common courtesy is not so common any more.

Amanda P said...'ve hit a hot topic here. And before I had kiddos, I can't say how I'd feel about what you experienced in church...distracting kids, nursing mom- frustrating to you, I see.

However, now that I have three young kids of my own I know these two things:

My kids don't always feel comfortable going to sunday school. No, let me try that again...they FLAT OUT refuse to go. And I still plan to go to church every week. My five year old son always sits with us and he's a bit wiggly. But this is church, and everyone is welcome. He DOES understand and enjoy the worship and the rest of the time he sits and wiggles. But we are still free to come.

I also know; breastfeeding is the most lovely, wonderful thing I have ever experienced with my boys. I did not hestiate to nurse in public ESPECIALLY if I thought it would quiet my little one so I could sit through church.

That being said, I would recommend you just move next time you're around kiddos...and know that one day you might just be that mama. Never say never....

Amanda P said...

I wanted to add to my last comment, when I nursed in public I always covered up (no one wants to SEE that) AND I do bring in things for my little ones to do in service.

HOWEVER, I just noticed you live on the EC, I am on the West. There is huge difference, so now I understand your response. People are much more comfortable out here with public nursing. I lived on both coasts with nursing kiddos and have seen the difference.

Enjoy your church!