/> Raising Angels: Clear Expectations

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Clear Expectations

We've been having some challenges lately with the kids at mass. Last week we tried a new approach. In the car on the way to church we laid down the law. This time however we left nothing to question. "Okay guys listen up," I said in the car on the way to church. "There are some new rules for church. During mass you do what we do. You sit when we sit, stand when we stand and kneel when we kneel. There will be no talking unless you have a question about the mass. Do not ask us when mass will be over. Do not ask whether we are having brunch after church. Do not ask us to read a story. And finally, do not ask to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. We do not leave church once mass has started. Understand?"

A chorus of yeses came from the back. With clear expectations in front of them, mass was a totally different experience and we let them know afterwards how proud we were of them.

Today I thought a brief review might be in order so as soon as they were buckled in I began. "Alright guys, you were so good in mass last week. I want to see if you remember the rules. Dawson can you tell me any of the rules?"

"Sit when you sit. Stand when you stand. Kneel when you kneel. Go potty before mass if we need to so we don't have to leave church. And...don't talk."

I was amazed at the retention level of our 4 year old. I was amazed at everyone's behavior during mass. I was amazed at how such a simple thing can make such a big difference. It was easier for them because they had concrete rules to follow. It was easy for us because we had specific expectations of them. Most importantly, we all participated in mass much better.

I think a lot of life is like this. Most things that seem impossible or complicated are not really as bad as we think they are. Easy? No. Simple? Most of the time yes.


Blogger Shannon said...

thanks for this post, Amy! I plan to share this with friends of mine, if you don't mind!
Children respond to boundaries! Thank you; what a great example...

9:53 AM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Sure thing Shannon. Please feel free to share.

12:44 PM  

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