Monday, November 10, 2008


More harm is brought into this world by people seeking to be offended than by offense actually being offered.”

Tis the truth.

The point is to try to break the cycle – or at least not be part of it.

An angry mom confronted me the other day. Her children came to play with the children who were in an after school program. The parents of the children in the afterschool program pay us to watch their children and there are all kinds of forms and agreements to which they (and we) must comply. Lots of sticky things occur on many different levels if the doors are also flung open for anybody else who just wants to be there. So there is a rule. Other kids are welcome, but they must have a parent there to watch them.

One mother who sent her kids over to play was outraged by this rule which she saw as an injustice and so I was called down to try to speak with her. Despite efforts at trying to speak with her we were rather yelled at. Loudly. Fortunately everyone kept their calm. It was clear that this woman felt offended and slighted and I am willing to lay odds that is exactly the version of the story that is passing through her circle of friends.

On the reverse we could have taken on the role of the offended party also. “How could she act like this? Why would she not listen? Why was she yelling? What a terrible person!” And this is the story that would circulate on “our side.” This is the way wars start. Instead there is a movement to have an intervention by a third party who might, in the long run, bring about an understanding between the parties.

The whole thing is really most deserving of sadness, not contempt. Frustration also plays a big role. What was desired was thought best for all parties, but the case was not even allowed to be made. The test of the true Christian is the next step . . .


Lillian Marie said...

Actually, I'm quite surprised that the school would even allow other children who were not in the program to come, even with their parents. During my 10+ years in after school care and child care, we would only allow those students who were enrolled in the after school program to be involved.

Anonymous said...

This is why I never fight directly with women, especially incensed moms --they'll rip your asparagus out through your nostrils. There is no next step, unless you're packing some Mace. (Silly String doesn't do much, take my word for it.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Father, I am sorry to think that you have to be called in to mediate such disputes. Did her grievance really merit the attention of the pastor? Or was there some other, unspoken frustration underlying her complaint and she needed to be "heard" by someone in authority? On the surface, it sounds like she was looking for free babysitting. Let's hope that your attention helped her.

MJ said...

It amazes me that some people just can't follow rules/policies. I deal with this as a teacher as well. I find that those that feel that the rule/policy is an injustice are only applying it to their own situation. They have no concept of the greater or common good. Nor, unfortunately do they care.

Anonymous said...

Bless you Father.
We can't even go into the Catholic schools or play areas. We are homeschoolers and you can forget about us playing in any sports (public or private).
I am sorry for the misunderstanding.
I hope you continue to do what is Christian, and remain open for when she regrets what she has done. Or one would hope.

Anonymous said...

There aren't enough details to say what was the core of the woman's problem, Pat. Was she a parishioner? Did she know the rule? Did it really shock her? Were her kids allowed to play with the others under some other management? It would seem she's not the one who sent for the Pastor--did she feel intimidated? Etc. I don't think Fr. is looking for anyone to take sides --I think that's exactly what he's saying: That we all have to stop making any issue an "I vs you" or "us vs them" thing. That's pretty much what Jesus and Paul said, too, back in the day.

Anonymous said...


It sounds like this stressed out mom needs our prayers.

I agree with the poster above (Lillian Marie) ~ Children that are not enrolled in the program shouldn’t be allowed unless they have signed up, are properly enrolled and have paid the tuition.
The reasons are numerous; mostly arising out of potential liability issues.
The parish legal folks would probably agree.
I suspect you would also have the support of the “paying customers” of the service.

Sorry you had to deal with this Father. I’m sure you have bigger fish to fry!

~ St. Sebastian Mom (who had children in the After Care program when they were younger)

Adrienne said...

I'm not "sorry Father had to deal with this" - that's what he gets the "big bucks" for (snark meter running)

What I can't even in the deepest recesses of my brain comphrehend is actually yelling at a priest. Arrrrgh!