Getting family to church...without acrimony
#21
Do you go to the same Mass every week, or do sometimes you go to the early Low Mass or the later High Mass?

I don't have children (yet?), but I do have a church-reluctant spouse and I've been around enough children/teenagers in my life to have some input.  I've found that when we're on a regular routine and we go to Mass at the same time, it's less of a struggle.  It's also good to remind them on Saturday night that we're all planning on going to 10:30 Mass, so they need to set their alarm clocks and be ready.

I am not a fan of the breakfast-bait approach because, like someone else said, it smacks of bribery.  We do not keep Holy the Lord's Day because of hopes for a Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity, we keep it holy because the Lord said so.  Likewise, because Dad said so (I fully recognize that not having children undercuts my credibility here, but since I was a children in a house like this, I'll only speak from my point of view).

If they are teenagers, start bringing the topic up a day or two before.  Ask (in a serious but businessline manner) for input on what it'll take to get up and going in time to be at Mass.  Skipping Mass is not an option, so what do they need/what do they need to do to be timely?  Pick out clothes/iron clothes the night before?  Arrange a shower schedule so that people know in what order they're getting ready?  What times do the alarm clocks go off?

Kids respond well to structure.  And it's okay to let them create their own structure.  But teenagers are also kind of stupid and will reinvent the wheel every week if they do not have a tightly-held routine.
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#22
sheep101 Wrote:Why do so few churches have afternoon Sunday Mass? It makes it alot easier for late risers like me to go to mass, and I am sure that would be the case for many young children.

I usually attend a Sunday Mass in the late afternoon/evening because where sleep is concerned, I'm basically a vampire.... but traditionally speaking, until recently canon law prohibited priests from saying Mass after noon or around there except for very specific cases. The Church felt that Sunday Mass ought to be intimately connected with the sunrise (and the rise of the Son, Jesus) by offering it as close to dawn as possible.
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#23
The_Harlequin_King Wrote:
sheep101 Wrote:Why do so few churches have afternoon Sunday Mass? It makes it alot easier for late risers like me to go to mass, and I am sure that would be the case for many young children.

I usually attend a Sunday Mass in the late afternoon/evening because where sleep is concerned, I'm basically a vampire.... but traditionally speaking, until recently canon law prohibited priests from saying Mass after noon or around there except for very specific cases. The Church felt that Sunday Mass ought to be intimately connected with the sunrise (and the rise of the Son, Jesus) by offering it as close to dawn as possible.

I used to attend a Sunday EVENING mass at college - 8pm Sunday night. Lovely for those like me who don't exactly do well getting up at the crack of dawn {or even the peak of it!}
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#24
DrBombay Wrote:
voxpopulisuxx Wrote:I was hoping to hear from other parents and you kids are great...I just want to know do you hate US for forcing you to church???

When I was a teenager, I hated going to Mass.  Granted, it was the NO, but I would've hated the Latin Mass too.  But my dad had one simple rule:  As long as you're sleeping under my roof and putting your feet under my table, you will go to Mass.  Period.  No discussion. What's worse (from a teenage perspective) is that Dad never liked the Saturday afternoon "vigil" Mass.  He always wanted to go on Sunday morning, early. Dad was an ex-Marine and had a temper, so it wasn't prudent to push him too much.

Did I hate him at the time for it?  Absolutely.  Do I look back gratefully?  Absolutely.  I try to remember him at every Mass I attend now (he's been dead for 15 years).  My point is, your kids may hate you now, but they'll understand when they get older.  As long as they can see you living your faith (not just on Sunday), it will have an effect.  You never know when that seed you planted is going to bloom. 

DR Bombay I  literally wept openly reading this THANK you.
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#25
Oh, dear, I am very embarrassed because **I** am the wife in your scenario! And I am always the last one ready, so I am double-embarrassed!

So I will give you hints of what has helped us. First of all, our "official" time for leaving is 15 minutes earlier than we need to leave (which is actually about 10 minutes before we absolutely have to leave, iyswim), so we generally get to Mass on time. If we leave at the official time, we have time to stop and buy gas, which allows the children the use of two bathrooms and no line [long trip requires that bathroom stop somewhere!].

The other thing which is very helpful is setting out everything the night before. Used to be that people were frantically running around trying to iron things on Sunday morning... now we do that all on Sat eve.

And I am trying to get my things ready to go the night before also.

My husband does cook a lovely breakfast on Sunday, so that is helpful, and it could be something simple which is labeled as special, like yogurt and fresh fruit, so it doesn't have to be expensive. If you need to, you could do something like this: Make just barely enough for everyone to have barely enough, and if people don't show up at breakfast on time in the state you want them in, they'll miss out and their siblings will get theirs as seconds. The latecomers will just have to eat left-over oatmeal... (I have never done this particular thing, but I did teach a number of children not to complain about their food by taking it away when they did--and they all survived!)

good luck--I have to go and write a note reminding myself to get everything ready on Saturday--my husband will be very grateful to you :)
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#26
DrBombay Wrote:
voxpopulisuxx Wrote:I was hoping to hear from other parents and you kids are great...I just want to know do you hate US for forcing you to church???

When I was a teenager, I hated going to Mass.  Granted, it was the NO, but I would've hated the Latin Mass too.  But my dad had one simple rule:  As long as you're sleeping under my roof and putting your feet under my table, you will go to Mass.  Period.  No discussion. What's worse (from a teenage perspective) is that Dad never liked the Saturday afternoon "vigil" Mass.  He always wanted to go on Sunday morning, early. Dad was an ex-Marine and had a temper, so it wasn't prudent to push him too much.

Did I hate him at the time for it?  Absolutely.  Do I look back gratefully?  Absolutely.  I try to remember him at every Mass I attend now (he's been dead for 15 years).  My point is, your kids may hate you now, but they'll understand when they get older.  As long as they can see you living your faith (not just on Sunday), it will have an effect.  You never know when that seed you planted is going to bloom. 


100% right. That's IT. Because who cares what a snotty nosed kid thinks ( kidding...sort of)... it's the man ( or woman) that you want to be formed for Him... And the Doc is right - it will always come back to you, ALWAYS.
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#27
WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote:Do you go to the same Mass every week, or do sometimes you go to the early Low Mass or the later High Mass?

I don't have children (yet?), but I do have a church-reluctant spouse and I've been around enough children/teenagers in my life to have some input.  I've found that when we're on a regular routine and we go to Mass at the same time, it's less of a struggle.  It's also good to remind them on Saturday night that we're all planning on going to 10:30 Mass, so they need to set their alarm clocks and be ready.

I am not a fan of the breakfast-bait approach because, like someone else said, it smacks of bribery.  We do not keep Holy the Lord's Day because of hopes for a Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity, we keep it holy because the Lord said so.  Likewise, because Dad said so (I fully recognize that not having children undercuts my credibility here, but since I was a children in a house like this, I'll only speak from my point of view).

If they are teenagers, start bringing the topic up a day or two before.  Ask (in a serious but businessline manner) for input on what it'll take to get up and going in time to be at Mass.  Skipping Mass is not an option, so what do they need/what do they need to do to be timely?  Pick out clothes/iron clothes the night before?  Arrange a shower schedule so that people know in what order they're getting ready?  What times do the alarm clocks go off?

Kids respond well to structure.  And it's okay to let them create their own structure.  But teenagers are also kind of stupid and will reinvent the wheel every week if they do not have a tightly-held routine.


Beautiful.
 
And God willing, you'll be a Dad - because we need more parents with this type of thinking.
 
:)
 
Sometimes I think that God made me a parent to give me structure - another thing where I think you hit the nail on the head is the night before thing... that really works.
 
I use the same tactic ( sorry, disciplinary love) when going into a grocery store.
 
park the car, shut off the engine, turn around, look them straight in the eye, and tell them what I expect from them.
 
Then I make them repeat it to me.
 
Same with Mass - and if I'm in a semi patient mood, I'll try to find something ( again, the night before) to make them WANT to go to Mass...
 
Guys, look at this about St. Kolbe - isn't it incredible what he did... how do you think we can give to God like that? Let's think of ways... inevitably someone will mention always going to Mass... at which point I leap up excitedly, saying "you're right! let's lay out all of our clothes, and get there early, and let's all think of one thing we can pray about on the way to Mass!
But it has to be GOOD!!"
 
That almost always works... even with the surliest of adolescents.

And by the way - I have no problem giving the older ones a guilt trip - Jesus died a hideous death for us, and you're complaining about taking a little time out once or twice a week? Are you kidding me?
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#28
I, like the Dr, disliked going to Mass on Sunday morning. If not for my grandmother, I would have probably slept in, instead.
Today, I am grateful that she did that, for if not, I don't know where I would be today. Even though I fell away from the Church for many years, I still knew right from wrong, and I never strayed too far, because even though He may forgive all of our sins, there is a line, that if I would cross, I would never forgive myself.

Long story short: Do what you need to do to get them to Mass, as I've done with my boys. Even if they hate me for it at the moment*, their salvation is more important than me dropping down a couple of notches, if not all the way to the bottom, of the "cool dad scale".

*only once has my oldest said that he didn't want to go to Mass. My response was simple, and to the point: I told him, " I understand, but this is not a democracy. We are going. I expect you to be ready in half an hour, so be ready."
Nothing else was ever said, and he was ready, on time, and without an attitude. I would like to credit the upbringing that I've given them, since we three live a pretty Spartan life, but in reality, it is more a credit to their character, I'm sure. Kids can, and do, surprise you.

Edited to add:  Of coarse, them knowing that they can have whatever they want for breakfast, whether home-cooked, or restaurant-bought, may have something to do with it, too.[Image: shrug.gif][Image: biggrin.gif]

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#29
Vox, I read your original post and I thought - isn't that what it's like with every family? I'm glad I'm not the only one and I know what you mean: it doesn't feel right but then again , being a father of 3 young children so far, there's a lot that doesn't "feel" right - like last Sunday, missing most of the sermon because my 3 year old had to use the potty AGAIN and the only stall was occupied by a man who I think is still sitting in there today. But our vocation as fathers, I'm learning, requires us to do these things despite the fact that we would rather have peace and tranquility in our lives. Rest and order will be in Heaven.
I'll share my routine with you for what it's worth - we attend at least one daily Mass during the week - so I have a lot of experience with this but it never gets any easier. I usually start real nice. My oldest daughter (6 yo) does not like me to turn on the lights so I go in there and announce that it's time to wake up. There's the usual stirring and moaning but I don't leave the room otherwise they'll just turn over and go to sleep again. I stay there and give them a couple of minutes gently reminding them it's time to wake up. If they're being cooperative that day things go good from there and they get out of bed and we say our morning prayers together. If things aren't going good, I get a little louder and start shaking them to rouse them up. This is followed by more moaning and whimpering. If they're still not cooperative I tell them, "Okay, daddy's tried the nice way next is the not-so-nice way - let's get up so we can all avoid the unpleasant way." This usually does it and the not so nice way would consist of me taking off their covers, physically lifting them out of bed and sitting them on their feet, followed by the promise of being spanked for lack of obedience if it persists or some other punishment. I don't fly off the handle but I let them know that waking up is not easy for any of us, "but daddy has to do it too." I remind them that once you're up it's so much easier and you'll soon forget your drowsiness. If things are progressing towards the "not-so-nice" way I first remind them that it's a whole lot easier just to get out of bed and start the day off good rather than me taking them out of bed and them getting spanked. This usually does it as well.  (EDIT TO ADD: that for older children I think the same would apply. Mass is not optional and I would remind them that we all have obligations and if the family is late to Mass due to someone's slothfulness then there will consequences to pay - since I understand spanking may be out of the question for older kids - Dr. Ray Gurendi's "Black out" comes to mind).
Concerning the "bribing" comments: First using the word "bribe" is associated with negativity when in actuallity it should be a reward for doing good and not a "bribe". Our Lord uses this model throughout the New Testament; rewarding the good - punishing the bad. So I see nothing wrong with that. If the reward is a good home cooked breakfast I'm all for it but I would refrain from unnecessary shopping or eating out at a restaurant on Sunday as required by us as part of our Sunday obligations.
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#30
Ruination_ipa Wrote:Vox, I read your original post and I thought - isn't that what it's like with every family? I'm glad I'm not the only one and I know what you mean: it doesn't feel right but then again , being a father of 3 young children so far, there's a lot that doesn't "feel" right - like last Sunday, missing most of the sermon because my 3 year old had to use the potty AGAIN and the only stall was occupied by a man who I think is still sitting in there today. But our vocation as fathers, I'm learning, requires us to do these things despite the fact that we would rather have peace and tranquility in our lives. Rest and order will be in Heaven.
I'll share my routine with you for what it's worth - we attend at least one daily Mass during the week - so I have a lot of experience with this but it never gets any easier. I usually start real nice. My oldest daughter (6 yo) does not like me to turn on the lights so I go in there and announce that it's time to wake up. There's the usual stirring and moaning but I don't leave the room otherwise they'll just turn over and go to sleep again. I stay there and give them a couple of minutes gently reminding them it's time to wake up. If they're being cooperative that day things go good from there and they get out of bed and we say our morning prayers together. If things aren't going good, I get a little louder and start shaking them to rouse them up. This is followed by more moaning and whimpering. If they're still not cooperative I tell them, "Okay, daddy's tried the nice way next is the not-so-nice way - let's get up so we can all avoid the unpleasant way." This usually does it and the not so nice way would consist of me taking off their covers, physically lifting them out of bed and sitting them on their feet, followed by the promise of being spanked for lack of obedience if it persists or some other punishment. I don't fly off the handle but I let them know that waking up is not easy for any of us, "but daddy has to do it too." I remind them that once you're up it's so much easier and you'll soon forget your drowsiness. If things are progressing towards the "not-so-nice" way I first remind them that it's a whole lot easier just to get out of bed and start the day off good rather than me taking them out of bed and them getting spanked. This usually does it as well.  (EDIT TO ADD: that for older children I think the same would apply. Mass is not optional and I would remind them that we all have obligations and if the family is late to Mass due to someone's slothfulness then there will consequences to pay - since I understand spanking may be out of the question for older kids - Dr. Ray Gurendi's "Black out" comes to mind).
Concerning the "bribing" comments: First using the word "bribe" is associated with negativity when in actuallity it should be a reward for doing good and not a "bribe". Our Lord uses this model throughout the New Testament; rewarding the good - punishing the bad. So I see nothing wrong with that. If the reward is a good home cooked breakfast I'm all for it but I would refrain from unnecessary shopping or eating out at a restaurant on Sunday as required by us as part of our Sunday obligations.


This has been a very good thread for me Thank you all.
Pesonally however I do have the venial sin of impatience that gets really wacked out by deliberate foot dragging, so maybe God is teaching me......(never pray for patience)
But the thought of saying fine...all of you stay home! Im going! is a great temptation that also horrifys me to think about at the same time.....
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