|photo credit: lattermusings.blogspot.com|
I walked into Sacrament meeting yesterday just as they began the opening hymn. My little family was already seated. The bench was full, so I had to sit behind them, which turned out to be a fabulous move. As soon as I sat down, I noticed my little Smiley (7, almost 8) had an electronic toy and was beginning to play with it. I sat my stuff down, and placed the baby on the bench as I sat down. Then, I leaned over the bench and held out my hand, indicating, 'hand it over right now'. He immediately began to stuff it into his scripture bag. No, hand it over, I motioned again. He scowled and handed it back to me.
A few moments later, he was messing with the hymn book being held by a friend (14 yr old young man) who had come to investigate the meeting with us. Then he was poking him, fist bumping, turning the pages. I leaned forward again and whispered for him to stop. Then he picked up the hat he had worn to church and started spinning it on his finger. He was seated on the outside seat next to the aisle. I could just see his hat take flight and fling across the room. Again, I whispered, stop now. Another scowl. He slammed the hat into the bench. Another couple of minutes go by and the poking begins all over again. (By now I am thinking, what did this kid eat for lunch??) Again, Smiley, stop now.
By the time the Sacrament had been passed, I had decided we needed to have a little conversation. It was a good thing too, because he had started clicking his shoes against the bench, loud enough that people across the aisle and two benches ahead of us were turning around. Lifting the baby in my left hand, I stood up, and from behind gently pushed my little Smiley to standing. He was very frustrated and, you guessed it, scowling! Come with me, I whispered, and held my hand behind me for him to clasp. We walked into the foyer.
I sat down in the foyer chair, babe on my lap, so my little Smiley could look directly into my eyes.
"Do you know why we are here?" I asked him.
"Because I was making noise with my shoes."
"Yes, that is part of the reason. Do you know why else?"
"How about because you were poking our friend, and trying to fist bump, and messing with the hymn book while he tried to sing, and twirling your hat? Are those appropriate behaviors for the chapel?"
"What are we suppose to be thinking about when they are passing the Sacrament?"
"Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ."
"Right. What were you thinking about?"
"Do you think you can return the meeting and behave the way you are suppose to in the meeting?"
"Are you sure? Because if you chose not to do that, you will need to sit with me instead of with the other children."
"OK then. We will go back into the meeting, but it isn't polite for us to walk in while the speaker is talking. So when she finishes, we will go to our seat. In the mean time, we will stand here at the door, so we will know when she is done."
"What?! I want to sit down."
"No, come over here. Stand right here."
It is so great to stand in the doorway of the chapel, especially in view of the Bishop, especially when the Bishop is your father, seated next to a member of the Stake Presidency! Dirty looks can carry from the stand to the foyer. Did you know that?
When the speaker had finished, we returned to our seats and the rest of the meeting was uneventful.
Rule for parenting boys: Do THIS. Do it now, or THESE will be the consequences. There will be grumbling and scowling, but for the most part, they will obey if their consequences in the past have actually occurred as and when promised.