Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Provoking Post

Disclaimer: What follows relates to parenting and interfering with someone else's child. You may be offended by this as we are all experts on parenting whether we have children or not.

Last night, at the Preacher's 4th of July/Birthday Party, one of our pastors blasted her two and 1/2 year old for begging for food. When I say "blasted", I mean that she used a tone of voice for a tiny child which made all of us uncomfortable. The volume hit the range often reserved for felony offenses by police officers chasing suspects through a parking lot. I'm not kidding.

The lil child began to cry so one of us picked her up and held her on his lap. The mother continued to blast and give reasons for why she was blasting the child. After listening to this for several minutes, the preacher turned the child away from the mother and faced her in my direction. We were sitting around a dining room table. As the mother ranted, the preacher quietly took pieces of the birthday cake and placed the cake in the child's hand. The mom didn't notice. Disclaimer #2: The child has no known allergies or chronic diseases. Sitting across from the mom and the cake-feeding-preacher, three other preachers watched the cake feeding and began to laugh. The mom didn't notice. The entire slice of cake was fed to the child who was delighted and when finished with the cake was ready to get down and go play with toys on the floor.

I laugh as I remember this from last night.

None of us wanted to set off the yelling preacher by suggesting that a loud tone of voice is best reserved for an emergency situation such as keeping a child from going into the street or away from a dangerous object.

We all gathered our stuff and headed out after the child ate the cake. LH and I couldn't take anymore of the fussing.

Having told this story, I realize that parents can get so upset they don't act in a reasonable manner. I suppose last night fell into this situation and Lord Knows I don't know what happened at the preacher's home several hours earlier which might have been broiling inside her.

It's still funny to me.

St. Casserole


Songbird said...

Tone of voice really does matter. When our big puppy dog, Sam, got into the habit of making big grumbling noises toward other dogs, we needed to figure out how to correct him. My tall husband has a deep, deep voice, and he can sound scary when he yells, not something we are accustomed to hearing around here. So when he hollered "SAM!!!" in a voice that nearly brought the trees down at the dog park, I had to point out to him gently that there is a response somewhere between nothing and everything ya got.
He didn't like hearing it. It's hard to have our tone critiqued. I think feeding cake to the child was a perfect solution.

St. Casserole said...

Songbird, your pal Hunting Dogs and Rabbits was the Cake Feeder.
I wanted to hug him afterwards but ewwwwwww! I'm not much of a hugger.

Songbird said...

I had a feeling it was he!
I'm sure he felt the love anyway.

Mary Beth said...

I love this. It really does take a village! I end up doing a lot of cake-feeding behavior with my little sister's kids...she and her husband speak so HARSHLY to them, it hurts me. We were not talked to that way...but apparently her husband was. They are always surprised when I point it out. But they are pretty good sports about it.

At any rate, it's good to be the Auntie. Or the cake feeder of any description. :)

NotShyChiRev said...

Sometimes it takes a village (of pastors) not to raise a child, but to cut the child some slack when mom or dad has momentarily gone round the bend.

What I appreciate most is that (1) Preacher and the pastors were responding out of love and concern for the child (hence cake can be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit) and (2) by not getting in yelling pastor's face, Preacher and pastors were cutting her some slack and giving her the benefit of the doubt of having a bad day.

I hereby announce my intent to copy and save said story (purely anonymously of course) for appropriate use in a sermon someday...all names and locales will be changed of course to protect...well....everyone involved.

Marie said...

Ugh! Those situations make me so uncomfortable. I'm so glad someone had the sense to feed her cake.

St. Casserole said...

Of course you may use this! And, thanks for the theological interpretation of it.
The cool thing was watching Cake Feeder looking at the Mom while listening to the tirade. As he listened, he gracefully moved the child from facing her Mom to facing away. Then, with his left hand, began to feed cake. His eyes never left the Mom's face as he listened to her.

cheesehead said...

What NotShy said...

Um...inlcuding the intent to steal this puppy!