There is a group of young ones at church (two of which are mine) who LOVE to sit next to each other. They stand during praise and worship, they keep their voices down, and (mine) pray when it is time to do so. They sit relatively still, there are no loud outbursts, and giggles are kept to a minimum. Yet, they are children and do not act, function, process information, engage, etc. like adults...not because they do not WANT to but rather it is developmentally impossible.
The parents of each of the members of this posse take turns supervising. Sometimes two or three of us (one on each end and the third behind them, in the middle) monitor things. I have to say, the distractions (to me and my hearing the message) are few...which shows me a lot because I get annoyed easily when my kiddos draw me away from what the pastor is saying.
Now, there used to be this man (who I have not seen in a while, come to think of it) who generally sat on the side where this particular crew sits but one day he moved and took a seat in the middle of the sanctuary. But, the most challenging for me was just this past sabbath, when an elder woman behind me said (loud enough I could hear it clearly), "Those [children] are terrible. Playing those games. They really annoy me!" Come to find out she had been visually upset, fanning through the pages of her bible. (The people sitting behind her are friends of mine.)
Hubs, of course feels it is none of her business. I felt I had done something wrong...failed in some way. But, the truth is this...when I was a child (sure!) we did not have the electronics we do today however, we did doodle, nap, etc. during a sermon. I used to daydream and (when I was older) check out guys. Until, the day I didn't. I believe my former youth pastor put it best. He said, "When it matters to him/her, he/she won't." Will not what? You name it...draw, color, doze, play games, wear a hat, listen to music, etc. during the message.
That is the bottom line! I love my family dearly, but I do not control their hearts...whether it is my young bloods playing on my iPhone/iPad, or hubs messing with his (checking email, etc.). God's word NEVER returns void...even if the listener is not consciously engaged! He/she is there!!! I am SO thankful for that! So, please excuse me if the whole "airplane" attitude of someone else offends me. At a service I want to feel like I am with family...not on a vessel full of strangers. Besides, I believe these young ones deserve a little grace!
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31 ESV)