From Johnny Rotten to Johnny Reverent in One Easy Step …

From Johnny Rotten to Johnny Reverent in One Easy Step … May 27, 2014

… Does your son fidget and act unruly during mass? Or does he get bored and sit there like a listless lump zoning out?

Do you wish he’d be more attentive, prayerful, or respectful and listen to the homily for stinkin’ once?!?

Now you too can have a new improved, wonderfully well behaved son accompanying you to mass each week with Altar Boy 2.0*!

Here’s how it works in one easy step.

Step 1 — Make your son be an altar server.

I don’t care if he wails and kicks and says you live to make his life miserable. Of course you do. That’s besides the point.

Engage your Catholic Mom Guilt powers and insist he make this one sacrifice for the Lord our God who died on the Cross for his ungrateful hump.

Ask him how many waking hours he spends a day watching TV, playing video games, hanging out with friends, or playing sports. Then ask him how many of those same waking hours he uses in prayer. Bust out your saddest, most disappointed mom face and ask why he can’t make time for Sweet Baby Jesus to serve at His altar?

If getting him good and guilted doesn’t work, appeal to his boy senses. Tell them there’ll be fire. And smoke. Lots of smoke.

And if he still doesn’t want to serve… who cares. Make him. And when he asks “why” give him the mother of all reasons. The Reason that’s been used for all of time, since your parents and their parents before them.

Because you said so.

Trust me, moms and dads. It’s worth the fight. The aggravation. The wailing and crying. Trust me.

Eventually over time your precious spawn will learn his protests are futile and he’ll begrudgingly succumb. And when he does something marvelous will happen.

He’ll learn the mass better than any way you can teach him, learning all the parts of the liturgy and their significance. He’ll even learn to take pride in his appearance.

But most importantly your sons will learn holy reverence and respect.

Isn’t that worth putting your foot down? In a few years you’ll thank me when you have a wonderfully polite young man accompanying you to mass.

You’re welcome.

*Altar Boy 1.0 included the use of girls and proved ineffective.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Christina Poynter

    Yes, but what about your irreverent daughter?

    • my big girls are almost 15 and 14- they sing the epistle (we’re Byzantine), responses, teach catechism to little ones, help with altar beautification and fellowship potlucks- so far, so good

  • Awkpearl

    Spot. On.

  • Like most other jobs for lay people at my parish, girls have taken over that job, boys no longer need apply.

    • Kristen inDallas

      They don’t allow boys to be alter servers at you parish? That’s odd.

      • It is more that the boys don’t want to apply, unless their sister is also there. Most of the time we either have all girls, or no altar servers at all due to lack of volunteers.

  • yes- it was a glorious day when my 5 1/2 year son started to serve- last week, he (now 7) was sick so he sat with me…he behaved, but it was distracting to his 4 year old sister.

  • I remember being in Slovakia at a daily Mass (maybe first Friday)- and there were THIRTY altar boys- all lined up by size- only 4 of them actually did much…but the excess were part of the processions and sat/stood reverently in the front pew and wore albs….boys and men need jobs

  • Awkpearl

    I *FORCED* my son to take altar server training when he was in 4th grade. Then, when we started going to the TLM, there were no boys who knew how to serve, so I *FORCED* him to serve that Mass, too. He was not happy at the time. Now he has just graduated from high school and is the senior altar boy at our parish. He is very proud of the years he spent serving. I can ditto everything Katrina said about how much he has learned about his faith, etc. It really is true.

    People were always telling me that I would be doing so much damage to my son by forcing him to serve. This type of service should be completely voluntary and just spring from the beautiful fruitfulness and gratitude that is an innocent boy’s heart. Um…no. It doesn’t work that way. Just sayin. In truth, the opposite is true. This has caused so much good that we would have missed, had we waited for our son to mature enough to seek out such opportunities. Maybe this is only true for my son, but I think our experience is not uncommon. Sometimes you do need to insist on things for the good of their precious little souls! 🙂