I recognize that I am single, and have no children. However, I am a teacher, and therefore feel perfectly confident in making judgment calls on children and their behavior.
Saturday was Easter Vigil at church, and a lovely ceremony, completed mostly in the dark, with just the Easter candle burning. For some obvious reasons, the members of the congregation didn't have candles, we hand out glowsticks. Very pretty and nice.
Here's my problem-
It's an 8p service and it goes for 2 hours and change. So why exactly did people feel the need to bring their screaming toddler to it? Or let their small children bang the hymnal against the pew, or run around the church, or wave mulitple glow sticks as though they were at a rave.?
I don't blame the kids, because they are well, kids. I blame the numbskull parents. What were they thinking? Leave them home. Children should be left at home until they are capable of sitting still for an hour or so. Do not bring them to church (or a restaurant, or a movie) and sit there next to them as they behave in a way that disturbs everyone around you.
This is a new trend that I notice everywhere. I see it in my classroom, the grocery store, the movies. Somewhere along the way it became acceptable for a child to scream and throw a tantrum while the parent just watched. What happened to parents disciplining their children? Punishing them? Raising them?
And this doesn't just stop when they're small.
Okay, so I recognize that I should not judge other people, that you should always consider their position, and the things going on that you have no idea about. I get that. But what exactly could be the hidden reason for why you brought your teenage daughter to church looking like a whore who had a rough night? A tank top that barely covers them, sweatpants with writing on their ass, midriff showing, hair messily swung on top of the head. This is CHURCH. Show a little respect. If you can't make the effort to show some respect then pull the covers back over your head and go back to sleep. Do not shame yourself and your family by showing up in public like that.
There is a demon child in our church. He is nasty, gross and a teenager, so you can't say he doesn't know better. I guess his grandmother is raising him, because that's who I always see him with. He picks his nose during Mass as though he were digging for gold. He sleeps through Mass. And every Sunday, he sits in the front row, where everyone can see him. What must his grandmother think as she sits there next to him? This is the same child you used his heelies to roll up and down the church aisles during our penance service during Advent. Who giggled and made faces in front of the whole church during his confirmation.
We don't do these children a favor by letting this behavior continue. They grow up, they continue to act like maroons who don't have to follow societal norms, and then they move out, get a job and suck at it because they don't recognize that there is a proper way to behave and that it's a way for people to judge you.
Then there's the many children whose parents bring toys to church, which the child proceeds to band against pews and other people. The race cars then go sliding down the pew. The girls who talk. The ones dressed in skirts too short, or boys with hats on, underwear showing, ratty clothes. And you know what? I'm tired of altar servers who wear skate shoes and jeans. I know we live at the beach, but can you really not put on a pair of dress shoes and slacks under your garment? Seriously?
I know I sound like a conservative eighty year old woman. I think the reason I am so adamant about this is because I see it in my classroom. Kids who think talking to adults like trash, or on an equal level is acceptable. Kids who don't take hats or hoods off inside because it is POLITE TO. Kids who don't know how to interact with other kids, or sit still, or behave as a proper audience during a production. What are these kids going to do when they graduate and have to act like a grown up? I'll tell you what I see with our graduates. They drop out of college because it's "too hard", the professor "isn't fair", there's "too much work". They didn't go. They didn't go on time, or turn assignments in on time. And here's the thing that kills me- none of it is their fault. Society and their own parents have conditioned them that nothing is ever their fault, it's always some outside source. And what happens is that you make it impossible for these kids to succeed. You cripple them. You create an entire generation who has no goals, strives for nothing and will work for minimum wage the rest of their life.
So, don't tell me that manners don't matter, they make a million differences that unfortunately, you don't see until it is too late to teach them.