Today is the one year birthday of my youngest foster child. Over the past five months, I’ve marveled at her growth, her vice-like grip on anything I’m trying to read, and her amusement as she’s discovered how to walk. And even though she’s become far more vocal over the past few weeks, I’ve also really enjoyed attending Mass with her.
During a retreat several years ago, the retreat master dedicated time on the “family and the Mass.” One thing that still stands out was his perspective on cry rooms, which is that they’ve done more harm than good regarding the acceptance of the family in our Church. In addition, allowing children to have carte blanche behavior in a partitioned, dedicated room tacitly condones poor manners and lack of respect for the Eucharist.
We attend the Traditional Mass and there’s no cry room in the space to which we’re relegated. Even if there was, there wouldn’t be enough room for all the kids and babies in attendance. But, what’s remarkable about this Mass — and we may be unique — is that there’s rarely a need for a parent to step into the foyer with a screaming or ill-mannered child. I continued to be impressed with the respectful behavior of all the children in attendance — which includes my 5 year old, who normally acts like every waking hour is “open mic night.”
I’m sure there are strong feelings pro and con regarding cry rooms. I’m just now at the point where I can appreciate the discipline instilled in children by requiring them to pay attention at Mass. This is far more important than a little peace and quiet.
Of course, I may completely change my mind as the little one enters her terrible twos…