Late this afternoon my family attended our parish vigil Mass, and after the closing hymn, I turned to Josh standing next to me. I was about to tell him I was going to light a candle and would catch up with them, and was stopped in my tracks as the woman behind us reached up and thumped my 14-year-old on the back. He turned toward her and I couldn't believe my ears as I heard her say, "You behaved worse than a six-year-old today." She was red in the face and clearly very angry. She caught him by surprise and for once he had nothing to say. Before I could ask her what it was that had bothered her, my husband, clearly embarrassed but also defensive, said, "I will correct my son's behavior. You don't need to." I didn't catch what she said next, but later my husband told me that she said, "Don't ever sit in front of me again."
Sigh. Big sigh.
I won't pretend my children are perfect at Mass. I corrected my teenager's behavior a few times today and so did my husband. Mostly I corrected him because he was distracted by a very cute and very noisy infant across the aisle. Several times I redirected his focus toward the altar, and a few times I shushed both Noah and Josh for whispered commentary on the cute baby.
I don't know what annoyed the woman behind us so much. Maybe she thought we shouldn't have to redirect a teenager. She's right, we shouldn't. But was her method of correction helpful? Not at all.
Now we have a teen who views Mass not only as a place where he has to sit still and be quiet, but also as a place we he might be accosted by a stranger for his behavior.
Noah got a big lecture in the car on the way home by his father and I. He knows what he should be doing in Mass and why, but he's a teenager -- they don't always think so clearly, nor act their age.
Unfortunately, this exchange, for whatever reason (most likely because Satan follows us all into Mass) will likely leave a nasty taste in his mouth about Mass for a while, maybe for a long time. Any suggestions? Has this ever happened to you? Honest advice would be greatly appreciated.