This post is inspired by yesterday's church attendance. Oh, I know, I know... generally it isn't considered polite for people to gripe about church, but this has nothing to do with the doctrine or leadership. This has to do with the members. And hey, the church is perfect but the members are most definitely not.
We actually got the third row in an attempt to hear the speaker and maybe concentrate on the talks. Families with tiny children quickly surrounded us. During sacrament the children behind us kept complaining loudly that they wanted a treat... their mother kept saying that they would get their treat after the Sacrament. Sure enough the Deacons hadn't even been released to sit with their families when picnic time erupted and the noise of plastic wrappers, crunchy serials, and children arguing and physically abusing each other over cheerios rang throughout the building drowning out the speakers. This was not only the family sitting behind us, but on all fronts people were breaking out their food.
This is SACRAMENT MEETING people! Not a baseball game. It is symbolic of the greatest act of man and God and you are doling out gummi bears??? This really makes me livid. People with children everywhere are saying (and I can hear you, so don't deny it) "but little (insert name with a y on the end in the diminutive) needs to eat. She/He is hungry." The fact of the matter is little (insert name) does NOT need to eat. Children (even tiny ones) can go two hours without eating. And preschool age children--most of the offenders in my scenario--can go 3-4 hours without food. Imagine that. What a novelty, but not really as I am sure these parents are not stuffing their kids full of treats every 20 minutes when they are on their home turf. It is called planning, people. The LONGEST Sacrament meeting I was ever in went for an hour and forty minutes. Still not long enough for a child to need to eat.
Oh, now I find those of you who will try to convince me that these food bribes help the child behave. Oh, no. I have seen your children 'behaving' before and after the treats. The Latin Fury and Big Steve DID not bribe us with treats or food of any kind during church. It was simply not acceptable. In fact my father had the strict idea that we went to church to "worship, not to have fun" (yes, his own words). No one is going to convince me that a cheerio assists in a child's worship. In addition to not assisting it turns normally charming kids into shameless food panderers.
I beg of you, stop the insanity. Bring your quiet books if you must (though Big Steve did not approve of those either), bring your pictures of the Temple, Jesus, and family members... but do not train your child to think that Sacrament meeting is nothing more than a time to play with Mom and Dad and get graham crackers by the dozen. I realize that many people have their patterns set, but this is a promise: My hypothetical children WILL go without food during Sacrament Meeting.