How to handle naughty children in public (Link to this week’s TOUV column included)

So we went to the Stake Christmas Sing-In on Sunday night.

One thing we Mormons do not do well is congregation sing, and this event was no exception. We’re quiet singers, don’t-let-the-person-in-front-of-us-know-we’re-here singers. Frankly, there are times when I think we are way too reverent.

When I think of a Christmas Sing-in, I think families and children and lots of songs that aren’t in the hymnal. There are so many wonderful religious Christmas songs that we don’t have room for, what a great opportunity to sing them!

But did that happen? No. Not only did we sit down with the 25 other stake membersย  who attended (seriously, 25? Where is the love, people?), but we OPENED THE HYMNAL TO PAGE 201. That’s right, we sat down and did four straight verse of each song, standard protocol 4 part harmony. Zzzzz….

My family got two songs into it before June (who is what we like to call “less reverent”) got away from me and sprinted up to the front of the chapel. I quickly followed and snagged her, but by the looks on the faces of the people in attendance, you’d think she had just interrupted the prophet during General Conference.

So we did the only thing that seemed proper. We grabbed our kids and bolted (much to the relief of the entire group).

There are times when noisy toddlers should be tolerated, and I guess this was not one of them. Most of the congregation in attendance was blue-haired anyway, so I can’t expect them to remember the days of diapers and squeaky shoes (that’s right, she had squeaky shoes on, because I’m reverent like that).

We just got back from Michael McClean’s holiday production, The Forgotten Carols. Now there’s a Mormon who knows how to sing. Man I love that man. (I also love all Mormons, good singer’s or not, because in most cases they’re seriously good people. Just clarifying.)

And this brings me to my link. It’s that time of the month, my article in The Standard Examiner came out yesterday. Check out what I would call the WRONG way to handle a noisy child in a public place.


  1. I have never seen The Forgotten Carols. This might get me excommunicated, but I’m not a McLean fan.

  2. I LOVE The Forgotten Carols!!! My mom read the book to us every year in December. And I’m getting the book (and CD…of course) for Christmas this year, so I can start the tradition with my own family!

  3. Oh-a Christmas sing-in sounds fun! And hey-at least you can use your child as an excuse for irreverence. I have nothing but m 25-year old self to blame.

  4. I’m so with you on the article, Annie. Terrifying your child through abandonment (besides the issues of safety) is only going to make things worse.
    As for the Christmas sing-in, I hate that “don’t let anyone hear you” phenomena too. I sing better when I sing a bit louder. I can’t hit the high notes when I’m trying to whisper.

  5. Love the Forgotten Carols, too, but not all the songs. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I can’t really sing and don’t know how to read music so I basically lip-sync in church. Now you know my secret.

  6. I’m still looking for a place that will love noisy children. Today I learned for sure it is NOT the grocery store.

  7. I liked your article. I must say that poor mother needs to take parenting classes. LOL. As a parent you feel mortified and miffed to have to leave the store with your cart full of groceries, but as the storming mother passes I silently applaud their courage to take their business home. And then I secretly smile, glad that it’s not me…..this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. So, I read your article, and seriously? That is wrong in so many ways. You would think the mom would take the hint when so many other people were so concerned with the welfare of the seemingly abandoned child.

  9. We got the evil eye from one of the blue hairs that sits behind us in sacrament meeting because we brought our daughter to church in squeaky shoes. Sheesh! I thought she really added some spark to the meeting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still, I haven’t let her wear them to church any more. No sense in offending the elderly (even if they are mostly deaf and shouldn’t have been able to hear the shoes anyway).

    That mother needs some serious counseling. Or Super Nanny.

  10. People are rude. I’d so much rather see a cute little toddler running around than listen to a bunch of stuffy, blue-haired women croak out a Christmas carol. I bet your kids thought it was their birthday when they got to leave early!

  11. amen to the “we are way too reverent.”

    we occasionally visit our friends baptist church, and i am drawn to the rock-star band hymns just for their lack of reverence, it’s so fun to sing with full out heart & soul!!!

  12. Annie, I love that article. The way you write just flows. Not only did I love the story and the moral, but seriously Anne, the Standard Examiner is so lucky to have such a talented writer. You always make me wanting more.