The Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest, right? You go to church to enjoy the peaceful reverent spirit, right? You listen intently to what is said and you feel uplifted, right? Well, I will admit that this is my goal, and that often I do enjoy those things, but let me give you a glimpse of my dilemna.
This Sunday my oldest daughter was home visiting from college, so our whole family was able to sit together in church. Maybe I'm a bad Mom, but I have let my kids quietly draw while they are listening to the talks that are given. I have one child who needs to have something to do while he is listening because he is a bit hyper. So he pulled out his pad of paper and began to draw a portrait of his sister who was sitting next to him. She is quite dramatic, so took up a striking pose for him to draw. The pose alone caused my other son to quietly shake with laughter. I began to shush them and give them the "evil eye". Soon he was finished and the completed artwork was passed around for every family member to admire. My daughter felt that by all rights she should be able to reciprocate the favor, so she took up the pad and began to draw a picture of her brother. I think she should be one of those caricature artists on the boardwalk because she has a knack for picking out unusual facial features and accentuating them. Pretty soon her drawing had huge bushy eyebrows and a gaping comical mouth. The more she drew, the more of a reaction she got from her brothers. Pretty soon my 13 year old was shaking with laughter, and beginning to make noise. I shushed them and grabbed him by the back of the neck and STARED him in to submission. But every time he would look over at the drawing, he would begin to laugh again. I told him he needed to move to a different spot so that the temptation to laugh would be eliminated. He began to quietly argue with me that he was fine where he was. I shushed him more and glared at him. His giggles started again, so I whispered that he had 10 seconds to move over by his father, or suffer the consequences. All the while I was concerned about the poor family behind us who had to endure all the shushing and giggling, and posing for pictures. My son began to protest and said he refused to move. I upped the anty and threatened him within an inch of his life, so finally...on the count of 9 I believe it was....he popped up and moved over near his Dad. He heavily plopped down on the seat next to his Dad, but in the process managed to plop on top of his little brother's hand. My 8 year old COULD have emitted a loud "stage whisper OW!", but nooooooooo my life isn't that simple. Instead, he yelled out an "OW!" loud enough for the whole chapel to hear!
It's interesting how one look can communicate volumes. My husband looked at me, and I looked at him, and it was as if all eternity stopped right there. I think any bystander might not have seen the horror in our eyes, but having lived with each other for 20 years, we both recognized it. There was also this kind of helplessness because the damage was already done.
Well, the speaker seemed unphased and finished his talk. However, at the end of his talk, he very kindly inserted a joke he had heard. A family was having trouble with their 2 year old behaving badly in church. They wondered what to do, so went to see the bishop. The Bishop asked to talk to the child alone. After that, for the next few weeks, the child was very quiet and would actually fall asleep each week during church. The parents were amazed and asked the Bishop what he had done. He said it was simple, he had ordained the child to be a High Priest. (Mormons all know that most older men, who are High Priests, fall asleep alot in church). Everyone politely and reverently laughed at this joke, and the speaker concluded his talk. I however, went directly to the bishop after church and asked him if he could ordain all of my children to be high priests. :)