How do I get my kids to go to mass with me?


#1

I get to mass daily, but only expect my family to go with me on Sunday. We are a household of 6, myself, my wife, and 4 kids. My wife is cradle catholic, and I went through rcia, and was confimed during easter vigil in 2005. My wife seems to be of the school that you don't need to get to mass every sunday, just whenever it's convenient. Fine. But the problem is, if mom doesn't go, the other kids don't go, and I don't know how to get them to go with me. My wife says they are old enough to make their own decisions. They are all well below 18 years of age.

What do I do? Do I cause a fight on the Sundays when we don't go? This weekend, when I went and they didn't go with me, on the way, I stopped by the ATM, got some green to put in the collection basket, and offered up a rosary before mass for my family.

on earth as it is in heaven


#2

Bribe them


#3

Unfortunately, I believe your wife and you need to be on the same page or it makes it extremely difficult. It wasn’t until my kids turned 18 that it was okay to make their own choice but my husband and I both went together with them. I’m not sure I could expect them to go if my spouse wasn’t supporting me in it. She should at least be encouraging them to go with you as if they had no choice. Then it would be up to her to explain why she doesn’t go. That’s probably what she wants to avoid. I’m afraid all you can really do is pray for them and your wife.


#4

It starts and ends with your wife.

Perhaps make an appointment for the two of you to talk to your priest first to educate her on her obligation to attend Mass and then secondly to discuss why parents must be unified in their expectations regarding the children.

Your wife is the problem, not your kids.


#5

We parents feel the compulsive need to explain but it isn't always necessary. "Why doesn't Mom have to go?" "Because she is over the age of 25. In this house, anyone who is over the age of 25 may decide for themselves whether to go to Mass on Sundays and holy days." End of discussion. Going to Mass needs to become a "house rule" for the kids, just like doing their homework, or their chores, or going to school. If they are not old enough to decide whether to do THOSE things for themselves, then how exactly is it possible they are mature enough to make the call about whether to go to Mass regularly for themselves?

I agree that you need your wife to be on the same page. Even if she personally disagrees with "making them go," she needs to present a united front with you before them. No good cop/bad cap, no allowing your children the opportunity to play both ends against the middle. She needs only be willing to back you up when you say they (the children) are going to Mass and not to undermine your efforts when you enforce the consequences for non-compliance (which, ideally, would be agreed upon by both of you as well- but in the very least, she should be able to assure you that she will go along with your decision and not make faces about it in front of the kids.) I don't think any parents ALWAYS agree with each other on every matter of family life and discipline- that is where "compromise" comes in. Can she live with you taking the kids to Mass with you every week, when it is clearly something very important to you? If not, why not? Was she made to go when she was a child, and is still looking at the issue from the child's point of view? Does she not understand the Church's teaching on this point? Would speaking to someone else about it- a priest, a practicing Catholic friend- help? You need to talk to her and try to understand where she coming at this from, and that may provide the opening you need to work on an acceptable agreement. Make sure she knows that you are not judging her own attendance or lack thereof, and that you will not condemn her in front of the kids for not going just because you expect* them* to, and will not permit them to do so either, if they are of an age where this may be an issue.

Just my 2 cents' worth!


#6

[quote="anonymoususer, post:1, topic:181840"]
I get to mass daily, but only expect my family to go with me on Sunday. We are a household of 6, myself, my wife, and 4 kids. My wife is cradle catholic, and I went through rcia, and was confimed during easter vigil in 2005. My wife seems to be of the school that you don't need to get to mass every sunday, just whenever it's convenient. Fine. But the problem is, if mom doesn't go, the other kids don't go, and I don't know how to get them to go with me. My wife says they are old enough to make their own decisions. They are all well below 18 years of age.

What do I do? Do I cause a fight on the Sundays when we don't go? This weekend, when I went and they didn't go with me, on the way, I stopped by the ATM, got some green to put in the collection basket, and offered up a rosary before mass for my family.

on earth as it is in heaven

[/quote]

*I agree with 1ke.
And...
You keep going...and you keep asking them all to go, including your wife. I would set up an appt with your priest, and ask your wife to join you. You both have to be on the same page, in order for your kids to see the united front, and then follow suit. But, you keep going...and when you come back, talk about the awesome homily...or maybe try to make it such that you all go out for breakfast/lunch afterwards. Make it a special time together. I would keep talking with your wife, but ultimately, you can't force her to go. I pray that she eventually gets on the same page, and everyone else follows suit. But, maybe if you keep going, and talking about it...the kids will naturally wish to follow. Your wife, too. I hope things improve for you. *


#7

Ditto to 1ke, but being married, she is still your wife and you need three rules:

  1. Is it necessary to say
  2. Is it the truth
  3. Can it be said with kindness

I believe the answer to all the above is yes, and as 1ke suggested, if you have a priest be the talker, it "should" help.

Failing all the above, your kids are still watching you. Be the Christian role model they need.


#8

My advise is to plan some type of fun activity after attending church. Take the kids out to lunch after church or go to a movie or some type of activity they all like to do.

You could also plan to have the kids attend church one day during the week instead of Sundays. The week day mass is only about 30 minutes because there is no singing and I think it is more fun because it just is. I enjoy attending on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 p.m.
Some people like Fridays.

Since your kids don't want to go to Mass you could hold a Bible study class with your kids for 30 minutes and tell them a Bible story and have a discussion.


#9

I think the bottom line is you need to make your wife understand that Mass on Sunday isn't an if you feel like going thing. I'm in a similar situation to you (my husband is the cradle Catholic and I was in RCIA in 2000). I'm the one taking the kids to Mass every Sunday and HDO and my husband is of the mind that the obligation to attend Mass doesn't apply to him. In fact, a month ago, he made the comment (in front of our 8 and 4 year old daughters) that the sacraments are like social security, you do your time when you're younger and then you can just coast. I was totally stunned when he came out with that gem of a statement. Since he stopped going to Mass last May, I have had many times where my daughters, especially the younger one, ask why they can't just stay at home like Daddy. I know from my standpoint that it would be easier to raise them to be good Catholics if I had my husband setting a good example for them alongside me. I really don't have much advice to offer you other than telling you to insist to your kids that they are going to Mass with you each week. I can tell you that there is no way my husband would agree to sit down with a priest to discuss this situation although I wish he would.


#10

You could try a few things:
1. Have some of your children sign up to be altar servers.
2. Be excited about going to church. Have a family discussion about what the priest talked about during the homily.
3. Take your family for breakfast, lunch, or dinner after church. (Depending on when you go, and if you have the money to do this.) That way- you purposely "brag" about how much fun you had out, and if only one child comes they are bound to tell your other children what a great time they had with you.
4. You should sign up to be EMHC, and invite your wife to also. Or lectors. Or SOMETHING that will require her weekly presense in mass.


#11

Point out to your children that going to Mass is a bit like going to school - yes, it’s not always fun but yes, we do have to go every week whether it’s fun or not.

For the wife - I’d give her a copy of ‘The Lamb’s Supper’ by Dr Scott Hahn. I’ve heard from several people (both Catholic and converting) that it greatly enhanced their appreciation of the Mass and the Eucharist.

Possibly some good orthodox books about the significance of the Mass are available that are geared at children/teens for your kids as well?


#12

Make the mass, something they should try to compete for with prizes and praises, the better they understand how it goes, the prayers, the litergy, the better the reward and bragging rights.

If you keep it within this context, it gives them good incentive to go, if anything, for selfish reasons. The perks are already there, just in case they get let down because one didn't happen to win this little "race" for understanding the mass the best...


#13

Dear OP you sound like a great husband and dad. You have had very good advice from Ike and whatevergirl and others regarding talking to a priest and going out together as a family after Sunday Mass. I wonder if you have any other involvement in your parish? If you can take the children along to any social events or ministry opportunities such as a Crab Feed or SVDP that is a powerful witness. Seeing other Catholic families together and also making friends could help add another dimension for the children to understand faith is not just an occasional Sunday activity. Also do activities with your children at home that reinforce their faith. Read bible stories and saint biographies aloud and other books by Christian authors such as the Narnia books and Lord of the Rings. All children love to be read aloud to at any age and I’m sure would be delighted to spend this special time with you. You could also plan special activities for feast days and the liturgical year.

Your home is the Domestic church. If you bring it home by praying with your children and spending time with them loving them and showing how you want to share your faith with them this will have a positive effect on the whole family.

God bless you!


#14

[quote="anonymoususer, post:1, topic:181840"]
I get to mass daily, but only expect my family to go with me on Sunday. We are a household of 6, myself, my wife, and 4 kids. My wife is cradle catholic, and I went through rcia, and was confimed during easter vigil in 2005. My wife seems to be of the school that you don't need to get to mass every sunday, just whenever it's convenient. Fine. But the problem is, if mom doesn't go, the other kids don't go, and I don't know how to get them to go with me. My wife says they are old enough to make their own decisions. They are all well below 18 years of age.

What do I do? Do I cause a fight on the Sundays when we don't go? This weekend, when I went and they didn't go with me, on the way, I stopped by the ATM, got some green to put in the collection basket, and offered up a rosary before mass for my family.

on earth as it is in heaven

[/quote]

Being Catholic we all are taught that Sundays are days of obligation. It is only when there is some reason for not being able to fulfill our obligation that we can miss Mass.

But people grow spiritually at different rates. Pray by fasting for your wife since she obviously is not taking her Catholic faith seriously while you are. My wife and a friend prayed and fasted for me and it did wonders for my faith.

PS
It seems we all need to be reminded of the power in prayer. It is in prayer that we acknowledge that God has all power and glory and that we are His. Without prayer we can become victims of pride, as though it is through our will and power alone we are able to do things. Prayer is a tool that should be part of the remedy or action every time.


#15

Excellent advice. You should not give your kids a choice about this, but you don't have to make it painful for them. Depending on their agaes, that makes it harder on you, but you can continue to offer that up for your wife. Figure out what is a good Mass to go to--when they won't be too hunger from keeping the fast, but also not the boring Mass with tired music and only older people there (you know what I mean). Then be sure you will all be ready on time every morning. Get them up, have their clothes ready, make sure you already have your offering, etc. Your wife should be willing to help you out here even if she's not going herself.

Continue to pray for your wife and talk to her gently to figure out why she doesn't want to go. Maybe ask her to make going each week a Lenten offering. And then follow through with the donuts, lunch out, naptime for mommy or whatever would help her be motivated to go.

[quote="Pray4Life, post:5, topic:181840"]
We parents feel the compulsive need to explain but it isn't always necessary. "Why doesn't Mom have to go?" "Because she is over the age of 25. In this house, anyone who is over the age of 25 may decide for themselves whether to go to Mass on Sundays and holy days." End of discussion. Going to Mass needs to become a "house rule" for the kids, just like doing their homework, or their chores, or going to school. If they are not old enough to decide whether to do THOSE things for themselves, then how exactly is it possible they are mature enough to make the call about whether to go to Mass regularly for themselves?

I agree that you need your wife to be on the same page. Even if she personally disagrees with "making them go," she needs to present a united front with you before them. No good cop/bad cap, no allowing your children the opportunity to play both ends against the middle. She needs only be willing to back you up when you say they (the children) are going to Mass and not to undermine your efforts when you enforce the consequences for non-compliance (which, ideally, would be agreed upon by both of you as well- but in the very least, she should be able to assure you that she will go along with your decision and not make faces about it in front of the kids.) I don't think any parents ALWAYS agree with each other on every matter of family life and discipline- that is where "compromise" comes in. Can she live with you taking the kids to Mass with you every week, when it is clearly something very important to you? If not, why not? Was she made to go when she was a child, and is still looking at the issue from the child's point of view? Does she not understand the Church's teaching on this point? Would speaking to someone else about it- a priest, a practicing Catholic friend- help? You need to talk to her and try to understand where she coming at this from, and that may provide the opening you need to work on an acceptable agreement. Make sure she knows that you are not judging her own attendance or lack thereof, and that you will not condemn her in front of the kids for not going just because you expect* them* to, and will not permit them to do so either, if they are of an age where this may be an issue.

Just my 2 cents' worth!

[/quote]


#16

Kristan, you beat me to it. Also one other thing we have at my parish is "Children's Litury".
That's when the kids break (dismissed by the preist) just before the readings start. A couple of volunteers take them and explain to them in "kiddos terms" the day's readings.
Just a thought.


#17

My husband is not Catholic, and I have to say...kids are smart. When one parent stays home, it makes it very easy for them to want to stay home, and there is a person there to stay with. I had to have a discussion with my husband and he now fully supports me in getting the kids to church, will get them ready, pack the bag, start the car, etc. He does often keep the 2 year old home with him, depending on how the others are behaving, and whether I feel up to dealing with them all on my own. :o

Here, under the age of seven...you might get away with "skipping" once in a while if you're tired. Beyond that, no way.


#18

I like how my dh put it when he realized he should be going to mass when he wasn’t and depending on the age of your children this may be age appropriate or not:

“I realized that God was just like a Father that I did not live with. He provides me with everything I need mentally, physically, and spiritually. However, when I don’t do what “Dad” wants and I don’t go to visit on Sundays then I can’t ask him for help either. When I do go to visit on Sundays we even get food and drink.”

Granted, I know that is not a perfect explanation but it makes sense.


#19

Tell them "were going to mass get in the car. "

ATB


#20

[quote="Mickey_Finn, post:19, topic:181840"]
Tell them "were going to mass get in the car. "

ATB

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

And when they ask "why?", you say, "Because I said so!" :D
(My kids always love that one.) :p


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