Our family was celebrating Mass at The Feast (the Light of Jesus community's weekly prayer meeting) a few Sundays ago. Our active 3-year-old was walking (sometimes running) and bouncing (a lot of times) along the aisles. Seated near us is another family with a little boy probably a little bit younger than my son. He was even wearing a polo shirt similar to one of my little boy's checkered polo shirts.
The little boy walked towards my son with a toy in hand. It was a Buzz Lightyear toy. The sweet little boy extended his hand while holding his toy as if telling my son that he can borrow it. My son however ignored him... He was so focused on praying and at that moment he was even kneeling down on the aisle with his hands folded in praying position. His gaze was fixed on the altar. It seemed like he did not notice the little boy who was standing beside him and was trying to be friends with him.
Wow! That was one precious moment for me! My sons are usually very active and mobile even during Masses. It's a challenge for me daily to keep them well-behaved (as in quiet and sitting down or doing what the church-goers are expected to do during the Mass) when we go to church daily to attend Mass. They like to look and move around. The sights, sounds and smells around them all trigger their curiosity. But that Sunday was different for my second son! At least for that moment! For quite some time, he was not distracted by the other things and people around him. He was simply focused on Jesus and on worshipping Him in a way that he knows how. I was so proud of him!
|Mateo: the little boy that made me happy and proud that Sunday!|
That moment was enough for me as a reward and consolation from God. I have been very intentional in parenting my kids and I do all the things that I do because I want them to grow up loving God and living their lives for Him. That moment gave me a glimpse to the kind of child that he is becoming. He is not always focused during Masses. That's true. But that moment gave me hope and encouragement that as he grows older, he will be. I just need to be consistent, more patient and encouraging so that he would continue in that path.
I'm glad that it has not been our practice to bring toys for our kids during Masses. We encourage them to imitate us and to look or pay attention to what is happening in the altar. We remind them repeatedly that we go to Mass to pray and to worship God. We did not come there to play with anything or anyone.
I thank God for giving me that moment... for allowing me to witness it. I will treasure that moment for many years. That sight of my little boy kneeling on the carpeted floor of PICC and not allowing himself to be distracted by a toy or a (potential) playmate is enough to enable me to keep on pushing forward in being a hands-on parent to my kids. My vision may not yet be completely fulfilled but I know in my heart that it is slowly happening. This knowledge is enough to make me persevere through the hard times.
Do you also have moments like this in your life as a parent? Feel free to share them with me in the comments.