Everything you can do with a kneeler besides kneel

Ingenuity is a trait that I like to encourage in my boys.  That said, at times they elect to exercise their creativity in ways that are — how shall I put this? — somewhat distracting to those around them.

Yesterday at Mass,  Luke polished off a bag of goldfish crackers with remarkable efficiency, “read” a board book to himself in a voice that competed nicely with the priest’s, and spent a few quiet moments playing with lacing cards before turning his attention to the kneeler.  Within the span of several minutes, he found that he could:

*Balance on it, in the manner of an Olympic gymnast on a beam
*Wriggle under it, like a soldier going under barbed wire
*Lie prone on his stomach and inch along, surfboard-style
*Sit on it while using the edge of the pew as a table.

It did not make for a terribly reflective Mass experience for Mom and Dad.

That said, I really do have to admire his ingenuity.  I feel a little bit like I did last year,  when his daycare provider told us that she discovered him trying to make a break for the backyard via the dog door.  (“He’s the first kid I’ve ever had who has done that,” she laughed.)

When things like this happen, part of me gets very exasperated with my headstrong little guy. But I have to admit, there is another part of me that swells with pride and goes, Way to think outside the box, little dude.   

It’s the challenge of every mom, I guess: figuring out how to encourage creativity while setting healthy limits, how to promote individuality while teaching kids to respect the rights and rules of others.  It’s a delicate balancing act:  much like walking along a kneeler, come to think of it.

4 responses to “Everything you can do with a kneeler besides kneel

  1. Oh the creativity, the curiosity – it all reminds me of what hope exists in children. I was recently in a conversation, well – I have been in many such conversations – about children and church. People love to, with all due respect, wax on about holiness, but what is more holy than the gracious gift of our children?

    Yes, there can be out of control kids and totally not paying attention parents, but I would rather lean towards charity – and that the child is doing what a child does. And now I will also remember the delicate balancing act – like, as you said, walking on that kneeler.

    Beautiful post Ginny! Thank you.

  2. Amen, Fran! Charity is the way to go … and as the mom of the active kids who require a LOT of charity and forgiveness from our fellow Mass-goers, I appreciate it so very much. 🙂 I always figure that if my boys are in church at the ages of two and four, they’re likely to be there at age twenty-four, too … and that, to me, is worth a little chaos in the pews.

  3. I read this editorial in America today and thought about children in church and parents as saints. Hope you don’t mind that I put the link over here for you and others.

  4. That was a great editorial, Fran — I’m glad you shared. We do need more lay saints … especially parents! I could rattle off the top of my head ten moms/dads whose lives have been amazing models of holiness and integrity to those around them. I think of them as saints, even if they will never be formally canonized.