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Lessons from the 'unruly child section'

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

September 12, 2018

“Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise.” – Matthew 21:16

For some reason, it seems like most families with very young children sit in the same section at the church I attend, St. Mary’s in Brushton. I refer to it as the “unruly child section,” not because the children misbehave, but because they behave like toddlers, with all the movement, unpredictable speech and occasional crying that come with that.

My husband and I sit in the unruly child section. My husband would tell you we sit there because I’m an unruly child. I enjoy silently interacting and playing with the young children around me.

Can the little ones be distracting? Absolutely. But, to me, they’re distracting in the best way. They add joy and humor to the Mass, and they represent hope and the future of our church.

While I enjoy all the little ones in the unruly child section, I have a favorite family. This family has two very young boys.

Earlier this month, my husband and I sat in front of this family. About ten minutes into Mass, one of the boys, I assume the younger based on voice, rather loudly asked his parents, “all done?” He continued asking that question roughly every five minutes, more frequently as Mass progressed.

Each time he said it, the parents nicely gave him a “shhhh.” And each time he said it, I’d start laughing. I couldn’t help it, much to my husband’s dismay.

While these little ones almost always provide a laugh or two, occasionally, they say something that has an even greater impact.

One Sunday, the older boy in my favorite family was more than a little restless. When it came time for the Sign of Peace, it was his time to shine. He went up and down the pew, shaking hands with those around him, saying “peace” to each in his cute little man voice.

As the Lamb of God began, he was still trying to shake hands. His mother was trying to get him seated and still. He looked up at her with big, sad eyes, and simply said, “I want more peace, mama.”

Don’t we all little man. Don’t we all.

We all need the peace of Christ. We all need to share that peace with those around us. And we all need to listen for those moments when the Lord speaks to us through others, even through unruly children.

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