“Daddy, is it ok to laugh in church?”
Ash Wednesday was a couple of days ago and borgette was called upon to give a little speech that her class composed in honor of the occasion in front of the entire student body. Naturally, the teachers were all in attendance too. Now, we as a family don’t profess to be members of any faith and she attends a local Montessori school. The school does however rent their space from the local Catholic Church and in turn the kids are often exposed to things of a religious nature. That really doesn’t bother me all that much since they try and balance that out by exposing the little ones to a variety of faiths ranging from Buddhism to Judaism with a nice mix of everything else in between.
We were in the car on the way home and I could tell something was on her little mind. I knew what she was supposed to do that day and I asked her how things went.
Apparently, either through a case of nerves or the fact that’s she’s only nine, when she was called upon, she got a case of the giggles and laughed and stuttered her way through her speech. Instead of blowing it off, I guess one of her teachers came down on her pretty hard with the usual rhetoric about this being a place of worship and that it was entitled to a certain degree of respect and she had embarrassed both herself and the class in the eyes of the Almighty. I guess it’s not too hard for an adult in a position of authority to make a kid feel like shit and if that was the teachers goal, it was certainly accomplished.
My kid told me about what the teacher had said and how she made her feel and that’s when she popped the question about laughing in church. I thought for a bit and to paraphrase, here’s what I came up with.
“Look honey, I don’t know much about God and most people who say they do don’t know what they’re talking about. I think that in a way, God’s house is just like ours and I’m almost sure that he’d rather hear the sound of children laughing than hearing them cry. I know I would.”
That simple little message seemed to do the trick. Whatever was bothering her about what she had “done” seemed to go away in an instant and life resumed as normal. I didn’t tell her since it would probably upset her but I plan on having a word or two with her teacher next week.