In Defense of the Screaming Child at Church

This is something that, if I’m honest, I get a little fired up about.

Most Sundays…this happens. And most Sundays, I don’t really notice it.

But inevitably, most Sundays, there’s a screaming child at church.

And no, the screaming child does not get me fired up.

The 3 to 5 people that have the nerve to turn around, make a big sigh, and have a look of pity and annoyance on their face towards the poor parent dealing with said screaming child.

No wonder there’s a shortage of young children and families attending church anymore. If I this church didn’t happen to be my home church since I was born, I would not want to come back if I got some of these looks.

Last Sunday, I happened to be sitting directly in front of this weeks victim of being the parent of the inevitable screaming child (I’ve had my fair share of turns in this role).

Because of my seat 1 pew in front of this family, I got to see from an outside perspective all the glares.

Now, normally if it’s my kid, I’m too distracted trying to quiet her down that I would never have noticed this….but this Sunday I  got to see it all.

And what I saw was way too many heads turn with that look of annoyance followed by a little eye-roll.

I was embarrassed.

No..not embarrassed for the mom struggling behind me or for her unhappy child (who happened to barely be 1…so God forbid he makes a peep during an hour long mass in a crowded pew)

I was embarrassed for all those people who had to make it known to everyone standing behind them that they were bothered by this child.

And…yes the child made it a little harder to hear the readings, but honestly, all of you turning your heads around to stare distracted me WAY more.  You just made it public how annoyed you are and now I’m busy watching you to see how many times you’re going to act like your whole Sunday church experience has been ruined.

And then I wonder…do you think this mom is trying to make her kid scream in church? Do you really think she wants you to point out that her kid is screaming when she is about 5 inches away from the kid.  Would you rather she not bother to come if she can’t keep her kid quiet? Do you think she just can’t control her kid…(her 1 year old kid)?

Because that’s what I saw in your face when you turned around to stare. And that is sad.

We certainly wouldn’t want you to have to grow in an ounce of mercy by trying to ignore what you think is a distraction.

Because I can guarantee that parent is barely surviving getting through mass, and is sacrificing paying attention for the sake of teaching her child the importance of a weekly commitment to Sunday worship.

And your little stares and sighs are certainly not encouraging anyone or even showing the slightest bit of respect that the church is supposed to be open to everyone….especially an innocent child.

I would choose a church filled with crazy screaming kids over a stale, silent, empty building any day. And I hope you realize what a blessing it is that there are parents who are willing to go through that type of battle ever single Sunday…because it’s important.  More important than your rude stares.



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