June 14, 2010 at 1:26 am #2282
Hi all -
I’m a newbie to the forum, but very excited to be here. I have recently converted to Catholicism (confirmed Easter ’09) and I have a 6 yr old son. He witnessed my conversion and grew right into the faith. He is very well catechized for his age. He absolutely loves God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and has an active relationship with each. When he’s playing, he bursts into made-up songs about Jesus saving us and about how we always have the Holy Spirit as our helper. He makes up plays about Bible stories and actively talks with the saints. He says things like “Mom, you are the very best mom. Well, here on Earth. I mean I wouldn’t want to forget about Mary ‘cuz she’s the best mom for all of us.” He likes to watch the kids shows on EWTN. When we’re driving, he asks me to make up a “cata-quiz” (ask him catechism questions) to entertain him. Anyway, the point is that he really genuinely loves God, has an active relationship with our Lord, and is excited about learning about our faith. In that regard, I am so very blessed.
And then we go to Mass … and my son is just horrible. He used to be a model kid during Mass: participating in prayers, standing/sitting/kneeling/bowing appropriately, singing the “usual” songs, reciting every word of the Creed, etc. But lately he’s just horrible in Mass. He’s yawning all the time and sometimes even falling asleep. He’s leaning on me and trying to cuddle during the Gospel readings. He’s mumbling prayers or flat-out not saying them. Even crossing himself has become a dramatic act of laziness. He’s quiet and sits/stands/kneels at the right times though his posture is appalling. He’s just not participating. The second communion is over, he perks up and is ready to play again. When I ask him what’s up, he tells me “Well, I was really tired and I couldn’t control my body and then I went up for my blessing and saw Jesus and He helped me be awake again.”
He gets what the Mass is about and he knows why we do what we do. He asks me to take him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament so he can “say ‘hi’ to Jesus face to face.” He only wants to stay for 5 or 10 min, but still… After Mass, he always wants to stop by the tabernacle and blow Jesus a kiss. He went through a phase where when the Eucharist was out during communion, he would gaze lovingly at it and tell me how much he wants to participate in communion. He knows it’s not bread, but the body of our Lord; he loves our Lord; but he still goes to sleep at Mass and plays with his shoes (or whatever) these days. Argh!
We usually go to the 530 pm Mass because he likes the more casual, less crowded feel and his best friend also goes to that Mass. We’re signed up as Hospitality Ministers and he participates in handing out worship aids and the like, but falls asleep during readings. I’ve tried making sure he has a nap before Mass, changing Mass times, etc. He’s the same way at the school Masses at 9 am.
It’s driving me crazy! I don’t know if I’m just expecting too much from him. Part of me says I should just be happy that he has such a close relationship with God and trust it will all work itself out; the other part of me says that I need to force him to participate. I don’t want to dampen his enthusiasm for God or discourage his delight in involving God in all aspects of our lives, but at the same time he should participate in the Mass. I certainly don’t want to turn it into a battle or use the dreaded “because I said so.”
I would really appreciate any insight into what others expect from their kids during Mass and/or any advice on what to do to get my son to participate in the Mass again.
SaraAugust 18, 2010 at 11:34 am #4019
I realize your post was a while ago. I just joined, so I am seeing it for the first time.
I have two sons, 6 and 7. They both act this way at mass. My 7 year old is better than my 6 year old. My 6 year old actually puts his head back and pretends to sleep. I am constantly telling him to pay attention and so forth. One thing I have found that helps is reminding him right before we walk into church about how to act. I feel that little reminders that are not lecturing or punishing in tone help. This does not make him behave perfectly, but it helps. Also, our parish has children’s coloring/work papers at the door. They pertain to what we are learning at mass that day. So, the children can participate at their own level. I always grab one and it keeps his focus on what we are there for for a short time. I realize they shouldn’t be coloring, but paying attention. So, I make sure they are only using the paper when we are sitting. I have them stop when we are standing or kneeling.
I am still trying to find ways to get my children to behave better. If you have learned anything new since your post, please share.
RachelOctober 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm #4018
I am new to the forum so I just stumbled across your post. I’m a mother of one at the moment and she is one so I’m not yet in your shoes. Anyway, I remember being a young kid at mass, I used to hug my moms arm during the readings. I don’t think I really paid much attention, the whole posture thing rings some big bells with me, I also was taught really well and “knew exactly what was going on” or so I thought. I think teaching your child what is happening during the Mass might help to make him a bit more pious, or not, but you can always try. He is at an age where it might be boring but if you were to let him in on some of the mysticism happening during the Mass he might become a bit more interested and a bit more pious. Again, I’m not in your shoes my baby is still a baby.
Anyway, I don’t know how much I would expect but I think kids should understand the True Presence and it might help if they are taught that.
Peace in Christ,
KathleenNovember 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm #4020
Depending on their ages, it can be quite different. Once I was about 8, and had my first communion, I was expected to fully and actively partake in mass and sing along and pray with intention. Until they have received communion, they don’t fully understand the importance of what church is.
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