Monday, June 25, 2012

So, How Do You Feel About Kids?

Our annual catechetical symposium was last week.  Our congregation hosts, but people come from all over the country (and we even had some from Europe and Africa this year).  There are two large rooms at the conference center.  Next door to us on Thursday was Planned Parenthood.  Interestingly, because the Roman Catholic bishop was unavailable at the time of our district convention, we had arranged to make a presentation to him at symposium.  So next door to Planned Parenthood, the Lutherans were thanking the Catholics and promising to stand with them in the fight for religious freedom and protecting the yet-to-be-born babies.

But that's incidental to what I wanted to mention.

Katie tells me that she never goes out with my granddaughters without somebody somewhere commenting on the kids.  "They're so beautiful."  "What cute little girls."  "Aren't they sweet?"  "They're so well-behaved."  "Such pretty daughters."  Katie was afraid she'd sound arrogant saying it, but it is simply a fact that that's what she hears at the grocery store and the park and stuff like that.  Every time.

Until Thursday.

The girls were playing in the foyer so that they didn't have to be perfectly still and quiet, but Katie could listen through the doorway while she kept an eye on the girls.  The folks from Planned Parenthood came through the door, passed through the foyer and noticed the girls, and said not a word.  Not one person.  Every one of them kept her mouth shut.  Some averted their eyes from the children.  Katie said that's never happened to her before.

That silence speaks volumes.


  1. The fact that none of them said anything or pointedly didn't look at the girls says something, but this makes me worry...

    Because I never, ever comment on people's kids in public, and I try to not look at them for too long, even if they're adorable and waving at me, because I've been yelled at and given the evil eye so very often.

    I don't want to think that I'm being judged as someone who hates children just because I'm afraid of getting yelled at.

  2. I know what you mean, Rachel. And I thought about that, because I don't think it says anything for one person to ignore kids (for the very reason you're talking about). But for so many people to pass by, without any acknowledging the kids, that's unusual.

  3. Given the organization those people were affiliated with, I think you're correct, Susan. How sad...

  4. I think we missed the opportunity to pray for those people in the next room. Shoulda prayed for their hearts to soften when we were on the contraception subject Thursday.

    I was watching some of them enter the lobby that day because I got there late and waited for an opportune time to enter the ballroom. It was like the small children made them uncomfortable. I'm not used to that reaction.

  5. Part of the reason people (usually) comment on the littles is because it's just so strange and unusual to see moms out *with their kids* anymore, never mind a Mommy out with several under-5s. Usually, the children are locked away in daycare...

    The Planned Parenthood people know. In their gut, in the core of their souls, they know. And that is why they are ashamed to smile or acknowledge the cuteness of the children.

  6. You know what else you barely ever see? You don't notice you're missing it until you see it, and then you nearly weep when you realize it's been gradually missing over the last ten years.

    Small children and babies with Down's Syndrome.

  7. Rachel, as Pam pointed out, it's not just the lack of comments. It was their level of uncomfortableness that manifested itself in not commenting, but which Pam noticed too.

    EC, I think you're right about the relative rarity of seeing a mom out with her kids. Also, try not to cry when you meet my nephew. Oh, what a sweetie! He sits on the lectern side of your new church, about 3rd row back, early service. :-)

  8. A bit off-topic...

    Pam said, "Shoulda prayed for their hearts to soften when we were on the contraception subject Thursday."

    Is there somewhere I can hear the lecture/converstaion on contraception? I'm unclear what "we Lutherans" believe on the topic. If that's not available, can you re-cap for me or point me to some good reading about it?

  9. Meghan, contraception wasn't a topic or a lecture at symposium. It was brought up only in the presentation to the RC Archbishop because the govt has demanded that they provide contraception (and abortifacients) in their health insurance programs, even though it's against their beliefs.

    "We Lutherans" are very divided on the subject of contraception. Some Lutherans buy into the common viewpoint of today's society that children are a possession to be acquired at will. Others believe that any use of contraception is sin sin sin. If you want to see something excellent (and it so happens to dovetail nicely with what your former pastor teaches) check out Pastor Stuckwisch's blog. This properly acknowledges that children are a gift of the Lord, that they are a blessing, without becoming law-oriented. What Pr S writes allows for the freedom of the gospel without tipping over into antinomianism. Oh, it's long; he does have a shortened version, posted on the same date. But you should really read the longer version -- it's beautiful.