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Introducing your children to Orthodoxy

Agabus

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A true convert issue...

Last night my wife and I took our two children to Vespers. The four-month-old was fine, of course, but the four-year-old was first terrified, then mystified, then bored and then very active. At one point, as I was holding him, he reached behind me and almost pulled an icon off the wall. (I was terrified, relieved and then embarrassed.) On the flip side, he didn't fidget any more than the priest's five kids.  ;)

Any tips on how to ease the transition into a very different form of church?
 

Quinault

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little laminated books of icons are great for kids.
 

mike

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Agabus said:
A true convert issue...

Last night my wife and I took our two children to Vespers. The four-month-old was fine, of course, but the four-year-old was first terrified, then mystified, then bored and then very active. At one point, as I was holding him, he reached behind me and almost pulled an icon off the wall. (I was terrified, relieved and then embarrassed.) On the flip side, he didn't fidget any more than the priest's five kids.  ;)

Any tips on how to ease the transition into a very different form of church?
Don bother about it. When I was five I pushed over a 30-kilogram metal candlestick. I've seen kids entering sanctuary via Royal Gates, eating candles, jumping from the soleya (translation?), crying, shouting, playing with dolls/cars/radiators/streamers and having done similar things. That's normal.
 

Quinault

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My son has done everything imaginable for a 2 year old to do plus some.

Climb a candle stand full of sand and lit candles? Check (his feet were off the ground like he was on a fire pole. It is a miracle it didn't fall over and catch something on fire)
Try to run thru the royal doors no less than 20 times in one divine liturgy? Check
Try to push the screen out a a window? Check
Yell loudly? Check
Make loud car noises? Check
Pull icons off the wall? Check
And those are just the things I can recall that I am willing to share- I think my mind has blocked out the others...

And my middle daughter has done plenty too. I would suggest for the icon thing that you lift them up and show them how to venerate properly. My two middle children spend a good amount of time kissing the icons on the walls during services.

Most people are pretty sympathetic and actually think it is pretty cute.

(I have 4 kids now as of 7-7 of last month, ages 7,4,2 and newborn. Between them they have done virtually anything you can think of at some point. The more you take them to services the more they learn how to behave properly and the easier it is)
 

mike

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Quinault said:
My son has done everything imaginable for a 2 year old to do plus some. And my middle daughter has done plenty too. I would suggest for the icon thing that you lift them up and show them how to venerate properly. My two middle children spend a good amount of time kissing the icons on the walls during services.
And walls themselves and floor and tables. Little children kiss everything in the Church :)
 

Quinault

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Yeah the kissing of everything and the fire aspect with the candles are very fun for kids. I think every orthodox kid has a little pyromaniac in them.
 

Simayan

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Oh, little kids running through the Royal Doors into the sanctuary is almost commonplace at my church. Then the priest usually just smiles, picks the child up, and continues with the Liturgy until the parents come to get them. Haha
 

Quinault

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Heorhij said:
I keep my mouth shut about kids and the Church, learned hard way on this forum. :)
Obviously not since you commented to say you won't comment ;)
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Every child misbehaves at some point in the liturgy.  Children doing the most outrageous things during services in our church is almost expected.

My niece actually took her dolly up with her and had it venerate the icons when going up to receive the antidoron.  I thought it was adorable.
 

Quinault

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^my middle daughter does that too. And she takes her baby up to have it blessed with her. Father even anointed it with oil for her a few times.
 
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This is where the icon corner at home can come in handy. When the child sees you lighting candles, burning incense, chanting prayers, and venerating the icons at home, eventually it will become less foreign to them at Church.

But yeah, even the children of "cradle" Orthodox act up in church, so you're not alone. :)

My Grandmother and her sisters use to give us Lifesavers and hard candy to keep us quiet during Liturgy, but I'm not sure that's an "approved" method of behavior control.  :D

 

Alveus Lacuna

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HandmaidenofGod said:
My Grandmother and her sisters use to give us Lifesavers and hard candy to keep us quiet during Liturgy, but I'm not sure that's an "approved" method of behavior control.
Especially not if you're supposed to be fasting before the Eucharist.
 
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