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Monday, March 14, 2005

Those Kids-Wise Folks at Our Lady of the Holy Souls in Little Rock, AR

It worked! This was the one of the few truly relaxed and almost peaceful Sunday Masses I've attended with my kids. Except for two short episodes when Francis and Patrick were unable to control their mischief, there was actually a semblance of peace in our pew. Hats off to the people who put up the Children's Fun Page at the website of Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. The children's page had coloring sheets of angels, Noah's ark, scenes from the Mass from St. Jude's Coloring Book, and other drawings. I printed them out while we were having breakfast and brought them along with crayons and coloring pencils. That kept my kids preoccupied through 70% of the Mass. Tonight I will pray also for Fr. Paddy, our parish priest, who assured me last Monday that they (I assume he meant himself and the other regular priest, Fr. Michael) didn't mind our kids' antics. Usually, those antics make me lose it, particularly those times when Francis thinks it's cute for him to climb up the steps to the altar and sit there, smiling at everyone and daring us to go after him. Oddly enough, he did it again this morning but I was somehow relaxed about that -- until he sat on top of the power plugs for the music equipment. Visions of a fried Francis flashed in my mind for a few seconds until my wife went to get him. Otherwise, I was quite relaxed. I will also pray tonight for the couple behind us who kept smiling, winking and talking to the kids, even handing them a candy each towards the end of the Mass. (This proud parent has to point out that all three boys managed to wait for the end of the Mass before eating their candies!) There was also this woman who came up to us on our way out to tell us that the kids were very well-behaved. I love my parish! My blood pressure typically shoots up to near-stroke levels when the kids are naughty but maybe that's just me. For example, Francis' altar antics this morning were just as bad as in other days. In fact, he was already pulling himself up to the priest's chair before my wife caught him, but it was strange that I didn't flare up. Perhaps it's not necessarily just about my kids' naughty antics at Mass, but more about my tendency to overreact and lose it. I read someplace that something like that happens in prayer, where the positive change does not just (and sometimes not at all) happen to the conditions I prayed about, e.g., a problem at work, but it is sometimes or mostly ME that changes. Where lies the greater evil anyway: my kids' mischief in general or my temper? That's a no-brainer, and I'm just glad that he's chipping away at my temper -- I'd give the whole lot away if I could! My temper, not my kids. :P

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