Yeah, been there, done that. Five times. Now we are enjoying the point of our lives where the FOMLs will reverently sit through sacrament meeting, only interrupted by the sound of fingernails on the backs of white shirts. It was a long road. Mind you, our kids were really quite good, so I have no room to complain. I am grateful that the Lord sent relatively peaceful kids to our union.
Unlike some of the kids at church today. Yikes! Don't get me wrong - I'm not a tyrant about crying kids. I completely understand that it happens. What I don't understand is why the parent doesn't eventually take the kid out of the meeting. Do they keep thinking "almost there, almost there"? Let me reassure you: You are not "almost there". You have lost this one. Go out, regroup, and try again later.
I don't say this out of harsh judgement, or out of spite. Which is how I would have said it in my younger years. As I have grown older, and much, much wiser, I have had opportunity to sit on the stand and watch the baby battles unfold from the front. I have watched as parents frantically try to stop a baby from crying right in the middle of the sacrament with binkies, bottles, breasts and Cheerios - all to no avail. I have watched the worried glances and mouthed conversations as the panicked parents pass the baby back and forth, hoping one can accomplish what the other can't. I have watched the sheepish/embarrassed/apologetic/angry expressions as one of the parents stumbles out of the pew with the victorious babe in arms. More than feeling irritated by the drama, I just grin, remember the days, and offer up a prayer of gratitude that it isn't me.
To those people who get bent out of shape when a baby cries, I would offer this gentle counsel: Repent you jerks.
I have learned this: Mom & Dad - Relax! It is not that big of a deal. Babies cry. Toddlers have blow-outs. Kids need "to go". Life happens.
Relax. Take a deep breath.
Here are a couple of quotes to think about:
This one is attributed to Brigham Young, but I can't find a reference for it...
"Crying babies are like good intentions: Both should be carried out immediately."
and this one that I can attribute:
"The reverence we speak of does not equate with absolute silence. We must be tolerant of little babies, even an occasional outburst from a toddler being ushered out to keep him from disturbing the peace.
Unless the father is on the stand, he should do the ushering."
President Boyd K. Packer "Reverence Invites Revelation", October, 1991 General Conference
Hey moms! Did you catch that? Next time one of the kids is pitching a fit and needs taken out, pass him to dad. If he complains, tell him you are just following counsel from President Packer. Then sit back and enjoy the meeting - guilt free. You're off the hook! (Thank you notes are accepted and appreciated)
Love those little ones while you can. Pretty soon they'll be old enough to sleep through the meetings by themselves.
(One day, if I get the courage up, I'll delve into how to raise reverent kids - and I promise it won't be about food and entertainment.)