There’s a saying that I have, and it’s relatively silly, but it fits for a number of reasons. “Anybody can eat when they are hungry, but it takes a real man to eat when he’s full.” I think my wife initially picked it up from an old boyfriend, but I’ve taken it as my own and shared it with many family members who also like it. It’s become somewhat of a motto, especially because my family can pack away the food.
I’ve always had a massive appetite, and for a good portion of my life the metabolism to match. I’ve still got the appetite, but my metabolism is slowing down with age (I turn 44 next month). I can still pack away a significant amount of food without too much consequence if I do so sparingly. Other family members (and my cousin Sean comes immediately to mind) has always been a little bit big (not fat, big) and has maintained his size and can still devour enormous quantities of food.
This isn’t meant to be a food post, but it’s just a means of introduction to my thought I want to share. A sort of primer, if you will.
I grew up mostly Catholic, with a liberal serving of agnostic, Buddhist, and Taoism. During one of the more “on” periods of being active in “The Church” I was gearing up to being confirmed, but that wound up not happening and I never really went back (at least with any consistency) for a very long time. I wound up getting married to somebody who initially scoffed at my spirituality, but eventually had her own crisis of faith, and wound up going to Mass and as a result, I started going again as well.
All of this is, like the first couple of paragraphs, more for background than anything. I suppose most of this blog post is basic exposition and the payoff is going to be a lot less amusing than it was in my head when I thought this whole thing up.
At this point, we’ve been going to Mass on a weekly basis for the last 3-4 years. My 3 year old, Ciárán, is the first of our kids to grow up where there wasn’t a time beforehand where he didn’t go, so has no memory of not going to Mass. August, at age 8, actively does have such memory, but he is the most engaged and interested in what is going on. Déla, age 5 only vaguely remembers a time before attending Mass regularly. My oldest doesn’t live at home and my youngest is only 1 year old, so they aren’t really part of the issue.
This last Saturday, we attended Mass (yet another blog post I should write, as to why we attend this Mass instead of going on Sunday morning) and my children all behaved poorly. Xavier, at 1 year old, is largely excused for his age. Most of the people that attend the Saturday Mass know us all, at least by sight, so they know what they are in store for – and at least we attend regularly and not just once month or so.
The issue, really was with Ciárán, who simply wouldn’t sit still or be quiet. We had to take him out twice to the vestibule (and if you don’t know what that is, you most likely haven’t read down this far, aren’t Catholic, or both). Go ahead and look it up, I’ll wait. This behavior of his wasn’t helped by his older brother and sister who weren’t behaving poorly, but weren’t setting a good example either. It was one of the rougher Mass attendances we’ve had to endure in a while.
So I’ve decided to create a new saying. “Anybody can take their kids to Mass. It takes a real Catholic to take their kids to Mass when they are poorly behaved.”