Church Snob - put the crisps down

>>  Friday, December 27, 2013

I generally don't mind how much noise young children make in church, the fact that they are there at all is a winner for me. I used to let Cog to take soft toys (hard toys banging constantly on the pews used to annoy me). She might take a cup of juice and very occasionally a packet of sweets.  I let her stand on the pews during hymns so she felt part of it, not just a dot at the dusty floor.  If the service was long and there was room she might even lay down and snooze - she slept a full 9 lessons and carols once - and she wasn't that young! 

I love it when the church is full of children, I love their voices, I don't mind if they race around the church after the service.  I think children learn what they live, they don't necessarily need to be told to sit still in a service, be quiet or even to kneel in prayer, they slowly just pick it up.  They follow the lead of the adults around them.  If adults sit contemplatively before a service, the children are generally quieter too.  If adults natter and move around, the children follow suit.

I know many adults aren't familiar with religious services but there are some things that seem like common sense or at least common decency.

I am so lucky that 3 times a year I am able to help our local primary school take all the year groups to one of our local churches.  We do it in 3 sessions, so 9 services.  The kids are great.  The parents.....

I used to go as a parent when Cog was a pupil, nothing has changed.  Some parents behave like they are an audience rather than participants.  Photos - ok, filming - weeeeell, alrighty then, but wouldn't you expect them to mainly stand and sit with the hymns and sing along.  Away in a Manger is generally known by most!

But today I have finally seen the biscuit, literally.  A row of parents with young children handing out packets of crisps and biscuits along the line.  Crisps.... during the Lords Prayer.  Ok, here comes the ranty bit:  You are only there for 30 minutes, your kids aren't going to starve.  It's not a bloody theatre show, it's a church.  It's the Lord's Prayer - if you can't bring yourself to politely join in - just shut the hell up whilst everyone else shows a bit of respect.

If you went to a Mosque would you watch everyone else take their shoes off at the door and tramp on in without removing yours, would you sit on the floor amongst the worshippers and unpack a picnic?  No.  When did people lose the respect for the sanctity of a Christian Church?  Whether you believe or not it doesn't matter, just show a little respect, and maybe make an effort to take a part.

I fear I may have become a Church snob but I think it's really important to show your children how to behave appropriately in different circumstances.  It teaches them how to do it too.  Why not take time to discuss with them what they think might be appropriate in different places: 

why you don't talk on your phone in the cinema, why you don't leave litter in the park, why you park a car between the lines, why you take a supermarket trolley back to the trolley park and why you don't offer around packets of crisps during prayers.


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