Mama, We Won’t Cuss


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By Don Swinney | February 1, 2014

If there were a book written on church etiquette, I have never found it. But if I were asked to contribute toward one, I have some ideas. Maybe not enough to fill a book, but enough to know I’ve contributed. The real contributor in my family is my wife. I’ve had members of my church say to me, “Your kids are perfect! I’d like for my kids to be like your kids. What do you do?” Well if you’re talking about the worship service, you’re talking to the wrong person. You should be talking to my wife. I was up front doing my thing. The wonderful thing about her method was; she only did it once. We never allowed our children to leave the worship service for any reason! If anyone had a legitimate reason for going to the restroom, it was our second son. He was sick all eight years of his life. His disease called for him to consume great amounts of liquids. Well, what goes in must come out. {{more}} My wife would stop close to the Men’s Restroom, stoop down to their level and say, “Now we’re about to go into the worship service. It will last about one hour. You won’t be allowed to leave until it’s over. Go to the restroom now!” Often they’d reply, “But I don’t need to,” or “I can’t.” Her reply, “Go in there and try.” Now, lest you think my kids were special, or were exceptions to the rule in our 50’s and 60’s we had our own 5013, which is a non-profit organization designed to help the needy. One of the many things we did was to offer the family a ride to church. They would usually decline but allowed their children to go. My wife did the same with them and got the same results. I’ve seen such activities as: serving communion barefooted, sipping soft drinks and observing communion simultaneously, talking etc. When I toured the church from which Paul Revere hung his lantern I found private booths for each family. Sounds like a good idea to me. The best story about behavior in church was told to me by my mother. She told me about a young mother who brought her two pre-teenagers to church occasionally. When she sought to correct them, they’d said in a very audible voice, ‘Mama, we won’t cuss, we won’t cuss.”