Today in Church: Parents’ Uncontrolled Children

Today in Church: Parents’ Uncontrolled Children | Features | Makurdi | Feb 25

While the Rev. Fr. Michael Murphy preached on the need for Christians to be as faithful to God as Abraham was, even to the point of trying to sacrifice his only son Isaac, I almost missed (not just) the entire message but was distracted considerably during the Mass.
I sat on the right row, my pew was the fourth with 7 people on it, an old woman in her 70’s to my right, she was there before I made to join with my daughters; 10 and 5 years old.
She closed up her legs and gave us space to move in while she remained the first to the Church’s window. I sat next to her, then my daughters on my left, the younger one closer to me.
On our immediate left, two women, the younger with a small statue looKiNG like someone in their 30’s.
She sat closer to us with a boy who should be 7.
While the Mass was going on, this boy was playing games on a mobile phone supposedly belonging to this woman, the mum or some sort of relation.
My daughters were visibly shocked to see this happen in Church, while it looked so normal for this woman.
A bit distracted, the stern look on my face was enough warning to enable them maintain a military-style gaze on Fr. Murphy who was preaching the sermon at this point.
To this parent or caregiver, it was just another normal day in Church, the boy (to her) was probably too young to listen to the sermon.
But why was he in  Church?
This is a Catholic boy old enough to be receiving the body and blood of Christ…but here he was playing games on her phone and not listening to anything else but the sound effects accompanying the game actions.
This attitude went on until the time for offertory which naturally interrupted the action because all of us on the right would have to pass through the left in a single file to the altar to drop our squeezed notes in the basket. It is usually a huge task for me telling my Girls not to squeeze money but also not to ‘let their right hand see what the left is holding’…
On the next pew in our front, a woman with two boys who should be 7 and 9 years was ushered in by a teenage girl who was already seated even before we got to Church, I suppose she is a house-help.
Usually, spaces are reserved for people at the front pews or where there is ceiling fan and such girls are instructed to look round the entrance should the Madam arrive, they then usher them in.
It was difficult to say if these two boys’ attitude was worse than the game boy, obviously, it was.
They disturbed and distracted the Mass more, they folded up the bulletin, removed their plastic red and blue coloured eye glasses and were using them as cars and riding on the head rest of their pew, at some point, their mother’s arms were used as racing tracks or just express road for their ride.
The boys were dark with no hairs on their shinny heads, probably because of a recent visit to the barber’s, their complexion itself darker than their mother’s, something to suggest they tilted more to their father’s genes.
It was a terrible Mass experience, the one that left me wondering, why did I sit here?
After Mass, I asked my older daughter what she could make of the whole scenario in Church, “very annoying and disturbing, how could those boys play freely in Church?.”, she asked.
Despite the distraction, Fr. Murphy’s message was clear, that ‘we should be faithful to God, we should stop acts of adultery and fornication, we should be good followers of Christ so that we will not only save our lives but those of others too, so that we all will enter the kingdom of God on the last day’.




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