Thursday, May 21, 2015

Catholic Dad - Catholic Sons

A few weeks ago, I was having a hard time controlling my 4 year old son during Mass.  I thought to myself how he must be misbehaving because "mass was boring" for him.  Have you ever heard that from a kid?  So how do we make mass not boring? 

I used to think it was the priest's fault....  After all - he is the primary focal point for most - so maybe he should be the scapegoat.  I looked around the Chapel at all the incredible artwork.  The stain glass windows, the crucifix, ambry, stations of the cross, statues and other cool catholic stuff and thought...  "This is anything but boring". 

My son however just sees people walking around carrying books, doing dishes, and doing a LOT of talking.  It's not his fault that he doesn't understand the mass... It's MY FAULT! 

During the mass, I sat him on my lap and began pointing out all the names of things.  I was talking through the parts of the mass with him, giving him a heads up when we were about to stand, sit, or say something as a community.  I prompted him with the responsorial psalm and simplify the homily for him while it was going on. 

It's like my role at mass went from being the controlling dad  that was just trying to get through mass and not allow my son to embarrass me, to teaching my son about every part of the mass.  My son went from being distracting, laying down, playing with books, to sitting there listening trying to figure things out. 

I don't get this attention every week, but as I begin asking him questions about what things are, why we're doing certain things - his answers are PROFOUND for a 4 year old.  He knows that when we go up for communion, that we're receiving Jesus in our hearts so we can be closer to him - and we take Jesus out into the world.  He understands that communion is sacred and without us telling him, he folds his hands, bows to receive a blessing and "Jesus comes in his heart". 

If you're a parent struggling to keep your kids quiet during mass, maybe try doing this.  Take time to go to your church, walk around and look at the art.  Teach your children who is in the paintings and stain glass.  If you see something new and different, point it out and teach them why it changed.  point out when you see movements, the actions of the servers, or why people are genuflecting.  Point out that the priest is washing his hands, and prompt them on the words that are about to be said.  In the vocation of marriage, our role is to be the primary catechist to our kids - to teach them the mass, to engage them.  If you don't know what an Ambry or ambo is - or the name of that book, or the symbol of that art - look it up or ask someone.  Maybe you feel inadequate and that's EXACTLY where the evil one wants us to be.... inadequate.  Fight the good fight - find out the answers so you can better equip your kids, and engage them with all the engaging things in our Catholic Mass. 

No comments:

Post a Comment