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To let my 3yo run around shouting in a church...

(462 Posts)
alardi Tue 21-Oct-08 17:56:06

Obviously not during a service(!).

Here's the scene:
Fine medieval church in a small market town. Sign on church door that says "The church is open to all visitors". It's market day so many people popping in and out to see the architexture, buy a card, light a candle..

I go in with my 3yo DS who likes to run to the back the church, stopping to talk shout about things on the way, then run back to the front area (near the door), where the children's door is so that he can look at books, play with Noah's Ark toys there, etc. He tends to shout when he speaks at all, so from a stranger's perspective, you could say he's running and shouting...

As he runs back, a sour faced old bat old lady sitting in the pews, stands up and shrieks speaks sternly "Excuse me, this is not a playground!"

So I apologised and left...DS kept asking why we had to leave and I said it was because the miserable old hag old lady didn't like children.

But I haven't set foot in the church since, don't want to cause offense, can't get over the feeling that churches are really only for the old and solemn and miserable, not for lively young children.

Or was I outrageous to ever take my unruly DS in, especially as we are contented, resolute unbelievers? I just felt the church was part of DS's heritage and even if we are slack secularists humanists, I didn't want churches/religion to seem like a foreign culture to DC (hence why we used to visit the church fairly frequently).

RubyShivers Tue 21-Oct-08 17:57:36

well, i think that YABU

people may actually be in there to pray/light a candle so would find that sort of behaviour really unsettling

it is a place of worship primarily so a bit of decorum is not out of order

cocoleBOO Tue 21-Oct-08 17:57:38

YABU. The woman may have been in for quiet reflection.

SqueakyPop Tue 21-Oct-08 17:58:17

It's not really right to let him run around in any public place though, apart from playground, beach etc.

Why can't you get DS to just behave? That old lady may have suffered a bereavement that day or is struggling with life in general.

Kathyis6incheshigh Tue 21-Oct-08 17:59:37

I think you needed to speak to old lady really - 'do you mind if he makes a bit of a noise?'

DesperatelySeekingSanity Tue 21-Oct-08 17:59:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

janeite Tue 21-Oct-08 17:59:52

As a fellow unbeliever, I still think you were being unreasonable. I think that children need to be taught that some places are not for running in and that 3 is old enough to understand that: churches, libraries, museums, shops etc are not for running around in - parks are.

Upwind Tue 21-Oct-08 18:00:05

Yes YABU - if he couldn't be quiet he shouldn't have been there.

RubyShivers Tue 21-Oct-08 18:00:14

that sour faced may have been bereaved

actually i think YABVU

and teaching your DS respect for others and their religions is no bad thing

SqueakyPop Tue 21-Oct-08 18:00:54

Or if you go when they are havig a toddler service, he will be able to run around and shout as loud as he likes.

MrsMattie Tue 21-Oct-08 18:02:43

YANBU. Young kids can't be expected to sit still and quiet through long church services. Educationalists and child psychologists understand this. I'm sure God, does, too.

Btw, the nicest church I have ever been to had a Vicar who said at the beginning 'Please don't worry if your baby cries or your young children want to play in the aisles. This is God's house. Everyone is welcome.'

A real 'Christian attitude', I'd say.

UmMwahahahaaaaa Tue 21-Oct-08 18:03:32

Agree with Janeite. YABU.

BalloonSlayer Tue 21-Oct-08 18:05:12

Oh balls!

I am a churchgoer and all churches in this country are panicking because of falling numbers.

The reason numbers are falling is that sour old bags like that make children and young families feel that churches do not welcome them.

Please take your DS back again another time.

You could learn the line from the Bible when Jesus said "let the little children come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of Heaven," and draw her attention to it.

I heard once that a vicar said in the pulpit, when some children were making a noise: "Without them, this place will be a car park in 50 years' time."

Marina Tue 21-Oct-08 18:05:45

She might have been praying. Had you even noticed she was there?
I don't think it's outrageous to have small children enjoying themselves in church, at services or any other time. I think it's great. It happens a lot in churches on Sundays too.
If it suits you to think of her as a horrible old crone representative of all Christians, you carry on. The tone of your post makes it clear that you think you and your son are splendid sorts and that anyone who disagrees is miserable. Well, sometimes people are miserable for very good reason and sometimes they might be in a church for comfort, solace and reflection, not to stretch their legs.
It's a shared public space. Not just for the young.

ComeOVeneer Tue 21-Oct-08 18:05:45

I'm sorry but there is a difference between a baby crying or a child talking a bit too loudly during a service and running around in a church. Yes they should be places that welcome people of all ages but a certain amount of respect and suitable behaviour is not much to expect. SO I'm afriad I have to go with YABU to let him do it and be cross with the lady for commenting.

alardi Tue 21-Oct-08 18:06:53

It wasn't a service. It was just an inbetween time. When the church had a sign up saying "The church is open for ALL visitors". I guess that doesn't include boisterous people, though.

We wouldn't ever go in the church any other time, except when DC go as part of school trips.

If churches are only for church mice, so be it.

Weirdly enough, I'd been doing this for years and loads of times bumped into church staff (flower arranger, organist, etc.). They were always very friendly and didn't mind if DS was being a typical 1-2-3yo (behaving as I described). I think the vicar thought I was quite an amusing oddity by sometimes strolling around with DC but never attending services.

muggglewump Tue 21-Oct-08 18:07:11

I don't do church but I do know that running and shouting is not appropriate.
Either control your toddler or leave.

Bucharest Tue 21-Oct-08 18:07:18


DontlookatmeImscaaarrryyy Tue 21-Oct-08 18:07:35

YABU to have let him run around shouting.

Churches are not just for the old and solemn. There's no reason why you shouldn't go back though as long as ds can be quiet. You still need to be respectful just as you would expect them to be respectful regarding your beliefs etc.

2shoesdrippingwithblood Tue 21-Oct-08 18:07:41

a church is not a playground.

SqueakyPop Tue 21-Oct-08 18:07:56

Letting children into church to run around and shout at inappropriate times is not the same as mission and evangelism.

ComeOVeneer Tue 21-Oct-08 18:08:40

OK another scenario. If he ran around and shouted in a library and you were called up on it. Would you consider that unreasonable? Certain places call for certain behaviours.

PumpkinPatty Tue 21-Oct-08 18:09:15

I agree with MrsMattie. My mum is a vicar and she would agree with her too grin

Marina Tue 21-Oct-08 18:09:39

I think alardi thinks that her son should be allowed to make as much noise as he likes wherever he goes COV.

cocoleBOO Tue 21-Oct-08 18:09:52

Open to all visitors isn't a code for running and shouting.

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