I have written about how my mother loved to go to church and at the time she had to contend with three rambunctious kids, I think that it was hard to take much delight in it. As I became an adult and went to church, I found out how widespread fidgety children were.
Apparently, every adult who goes to church regularly has a story to tell. I will always remember that I sat behind the local mortician and he was holding a son who was probably three. As more morticians usually are, he solemn, composed and calm. While we stood silently and the pastor was giving the closing prayer the child said in a loud voice that could be heard all over the church: “Dad, I got a booger!”
I could see the mortician’s ears getting red and he pulled down the offending hand on the boy because it was up in the air for three rows of pews to see. That was when the boy blurted out: “It’s a big one, Dad.”
We could see that Dad was reaching for a handkerchief, but it was too late to save his dignity. Even the pastor stopped praying for a while like he had lost his place. I don’t know if anyone else saw it, but I thought the pastor’s shoulders going up and down and if he was having trouble stifling a laugh.
A good friend told me this one. When he had a son that was about six, and in Sunday School that learned that God made everything, including humans. He seemed especially intent and questioned his teacher how Eve was created out of Adam’s rib. Later on the in the week, his dad noticed that his son was lying down as though he were sick. When Dad asked him what was wrong, the boy said: “I have a pain in my side. I think I am going to have a wife.”
It seems everyone has a story to tell about a child in church. You can’t expect a child of tender years to behave for that long. Their attention span won’t let them. My sister in law gave me this one. When asked, why do we have to be quiet in church? She replied, “Because people are sleeping.”
One of my former secretaries told me this on a Monday morning that her daughter had embarrassed her. She was bored and fidgety and she finally asked her mother in a loud voice, “Mommy, if we give him money right now in the plate, will he let us go?”
One friend of mine said his son wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. His dad said that was a very good choice and what made you decide to be a minister anyway. The boy said: “Well if I have to go to church anyway, I figured it would be more fun to stand up and holler than to sit and listen.”
I don’t know who told me this, but it was a family affair when the conversation turned to children in church. She thought it was a Lenten service one evening. And when the choir came down the aisle singing a solemn him, her son broke out in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
One of my old Sunday School teacher swears this is true about me, (although I don’t remember it). She asked me why Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem and I reportedly replied: “Because they couldn’t find a babysitter.”
There are all kinds of stories, and if I had the sense to write them all down, I could publish a book. But one I remember very well.
This came from a contemporary of my mother. I knew the offending child, although he had grown into an adult. Mother’s friend said he nearly fainted on the spot and had never been so embarrassed.
She was at a graveside service for one of her relatives and had “Junior” standing beside her. I think that Junior meant well although because he heard it in church so many times, but he didn’t have the words quite right. For all to hear at the graveside service, he said in a loud voice: “In the name of the Father . . . And of the Son . . . and in the hole he goes.”