Have you ever been so mad you wanted to slap somebody?
Yesterday at Mass (I know, a lot of good it does attending Church if you’re going to leave angry!), this family came in and sat nearby. I’d seen them before: Dad, Mom, two boys (probably aged 14 or 15), Daughter #1 (maybe 12 or so), and Daughter #3 (aged 5 or so).
What happened to Daughter #2, the one I’m guessing is 10-ish? Well, after the family was seated — and taking up an entire pew — Daughter #2 shows up, tries to scoot somebody over to get in the pew, and fails.
Nobody would move over to let this poor child in.
Mom somewhat angrily motioned for her to take a seat in front of the family. By herself.
A horrified look came over her face, which she instantly covered. When she removed her little hands, her eyes were red and tear-filled; her mouth was trembling.
Too big to cry, she wiped her eyes and sucked back her emotions. With superhuman strength.
Now, far be it from me to judge. Or give parenting advice.
After all, I only have one child, not five. And I don’t know what went on in this family’s home before Church.
Perhaps Daughter #2 had been a real hellion all week.
Perhaps she’d sassed Mom. Or argued over clothes. Or failed to do her chores.
But did she REALLY deserve shunning?
Everything I’ve read indicates shunning is one of the harshest punishments that can be administered, and it certainly has NO PLACE in a family.
I watched in growing horror as this mom and dad, along with four of their kids, basically ignored Daughter #2.
For the entire service.
Surely the mom will send one of her kids to join this child after the sermon, I thought.
It didn’t happen.
Surely the dad will get up and join his daughter after Communion, I hoped.
Nobody moved to sit with this beautiful little girl.
And my heart was breaking for her.
My late Grandma, who had five kids herself, used to liken her brood to fingers. When one hurts, the whole hand hurts, she said.
It didn’t require a college education for her to know that.
I think it’s incumbent on parents to set the example. To foster a feeling of unity in the family.
To love their kids equally (as much as is possible). To praise their kids publicly and chastise privately.
So, yes, I wanted to slap some sense in that mom and dad. Do you blame me?