Christians and Respect in Church

I originally started this in Ecclesiantics. I'm not sure whether it belongs here, there, or in Hell (although I'd like a real discussion, so not the last).

I work at a church school. We have mandatory chapel (sometimes with an alternative, which was originally created for Jewish students but is now overwhelmingly taken up by our Muslim students).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it can be difficult to get several hundred teenagers to behave in a moderately respectful fashion during chapel services, particularly the longer ones like eucharists or the Ash Wednesday service.

That's not surprising. What I do find a bit more surprising is that the worst offenders are invariably the kids who profess the highest levels of personal piety. Basically, the more religious students are, the more likely they are to have to be told to be quiet or put away their cellphones. Meanwhile, then non-Christian students (whether from other faith traditions or irreligious) tend to be rather better behaved and try to respect the proceedings.

What gives? Is it a case of familiarity breeding contempt? Is it something else?

For what it's worth, we're an Episcopal school, but the plurality of our Christian students are Roman Catholics, with many of the others being Evangelicals (although mainline Protestants and Orthodox are both strongly overrepresented compared to the local population).

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Comments

  • Perhaps it is from how they were taught to behave in religious services as youngsters. I admit to being old and cranky but there was no way as a child my mother would have allowed me to run up and down the aisles during a service or squirm around in my seat and play loudly with some toy. I now see children in church behaving this way, as well as on a cell phone. I think this has nothing to do with the piety or the lack thereof of the child and all to do with excepted social norms of child behavior, in church and other public space. I would think rather then telling students to be quiet or put down their cellphones a good group sit down and heart to heart about what they might think respectful behavior in religious services might be would prove helpful.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Is this a boarding school?

    My bet is that as teenagers the Christian kids are just rebelling against authorities.
  • BabyWombatBabyWombat Shipmate
    I wonder if lack of respect is more general. Do these students act disrespectfully during classroom discussions, or presentations by speakers or the like? Or is it just during services?

    I do see a good deal of the attitude “if I’m bored with this (whatever “this” is) I don’t have to pay attention/be quiet, it is OK for me to chatter or do something that interests me on my phone right now.” Sort of a basic general rudeness toward anything the individual has little interest in. What I’d call old fashioned selfishness if you will.

    I’d think of addressing it on those terms, and stay away from the religious setting aspect altogether. There are many times in life that the milieu is boring -- a television program a parent watches, a grandmother talking about her childhood, my best friend going on and on and on about today’s love interest. (And the truth that I too can be boring to others!) The skill of polite respect, even when bored, is hard to master I think, but oh so necessary, in the business world, social interactions, and so on.

    To quote from the musical Gigi, “I’m so glad, that I’m not young anymore”
  • Have you asked them, as just of interest, why they act that way?
    A lot of possibilities can be raised here, but this way you might be find how to address it.

    Education is much more participatory these days, while services are the old school listen and only speak/participate how you are told to.
  • I'm an old timer too, and I think the change is this. If I had run around being a nuisance, as a toddler at church, I would have got a slap on the leg and nobody would have called in the social services. If I had been disrespectful in my teens, during an event (however boring) that required silence and respect, the memory of the "behave or get a slap" would have ingrained in me, the ability to show outward respect.
    However, these days, we have a "do as thou wilt shall be the law of bringing up kids" and no parent is really allowed to slap their kids. Result? Annoying an disrespectful kids as you have described
  • BabyWombat wrote: »
    I wonder if lack of respect is more general. Do these students act disrespectfully during classroom discussions, or presentations by speakers or the like?

    Oh, most definitely!

    To be clear, my question isn't why teenagers are sometimes disrespectful and obnoxious. I work with them, and I know that's partly explained by adolescent psychology and partly a mystery for the ages.

    My question is why it's the Christian teens, and the most self-consciouslyChristian at that, who tend to be the most disrespectful and obnoxious in the context of Christian.

    It may well be that they feel more at home in a church setting and are used to doing whatever they want at home, whilst their non-Christian peers are on their best behavior because it's strange to them. Or something.
  • Have you asked them, as just of interest, why they act that way?
    A lot of possibilities can be raised here, but this way you might be find how to address it.

    Education is much more participatory these days, while services are the old school listen and only speak/participate how you are told to.

    There's a lot of exclusivity in Christians. Maybe they don't want to be associated with your "brand". Are they signalling to others that they don't have to defend the contents of the service.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I'm an old timer too, and I think the change is this. If I had run around being a nuisance, as a toddler at church, I would have got a slap on the leg and nobody would have called in the social services. If I had been disrespectful in my teens, during an event (however boring) that required silence and respect, the memory of the "behave or get a slap" would have ingrained in me, the ability to show outward respect.
    However, these days, we have a "do as thou wilt shall be the law of bringing up kids" and no parent is really allowed to slap their kids. Result? Annoying an disrespectful kids as you have described

    Do you assault adults if they don't behave how you want? Why do you think it's acceptable to do to children that which would get you a criminal conviction if you did it to an adult?

    "I'm taking you somewhere you hate and making you sit through it by threatening you with violence".

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Perhaps it is from how they were taught to behave in religious services as youngsters. I admit to being old and cranky but there was no way as a child my mother would have allowed me to run up and down the aisles during a service or squirm around in my seat and play loudly with some toy. I now see children in church behaving this way, as well as on a cell phone.

    I'm curious to know what parents in the Old Days actually did. We have a one-year-old and a three-year-old with delayed speech and as far as I'm concerned, taking them to church is basically about containment.

    Yes, I will stop them from bothering other members of the congregation but stopping them from doing stuff comes at a price; if they have a massive tantrum then that is also disruptive, and as the church is on a busy road junction then just 'taking them out' isn't a great option either. So as far as I'm concerned, if they stay in the open space at the back of church then that's a win; the overall result though is that they aren't actually particularly 'respectful' (in the adult sense) towards the sacred, it's just that the adults can't see them.

    I strongly suspect that what actually happened in the Old Days was that parents whose children were little shits just did what my parents did, i.e. not bring them until they were a bit more mature.

    (Also, there are a lot of adults out there who went to church as children and then never darkened the door of a church again; so the Old Days might have been good at creating respectful children but they didn't create Christians.)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Perhaps it is from how they were taught to behave in religious services as youngsters. I admit to being old and cranky but there was no way as a child my mother would have allowed me to run up and down the aisles during a service or squirm around in my seat and play loudly with some toy. I now see children in church behaving this way, as well as on a cell phone.

    I'm curious to know what parents in the Old Days actually did. We have a one-year-old and a three-year-old with delayed speech and as far as I'm concerned, taking them to church is basically about containment.

    Yes, I will stop them from bothering other members of the congregation but stopping them from doing stuff comes at a price; if they have a massive tantrum then that is also disruptive, and as the church is on a busy road junction then just 'taking them out' isn't a great option either. So as far as I'm concerned, if they stay in the open space at the back of church then that's a win; the overall result though is that they aren't actually particularly 'respectful' (in the adult sense) towards the sacred, it's just that the adults can't see them.

    I strongly suspect that what actually happened in the Old Days was that parents whose children were little shits just did what my parents did, i.e. not bring them until they were a bit more mature.

    (Also, there are a lot of adults out there who went to church as children and then never darkened the door of a church again; so the Old Days might have been good at creating respectful children but they didn't create Christians.)

    This. All of it. If you've got a child with ADHD or ASD it's quite possible the only way of keeping them completely still and quiet would be a straightjacket and gag.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    It's notable that Our Lord said we should suffer little children. He didn't say we would enjoy them ...
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited April 14
    It’s technically possible to jam mobiles, various shops do it. Your school could arrange to do this for the duration of the service.

    However, all behaviour has a function - if the service isn’t able to engage with its captive audience, perhaps you need to change the service ?
  • DonLogan2DonLogan2 Shipmate
    How about you invite the young people to be a part of the proceedings and allow them to add something new to the service and therefore get away from your context and closer to theirs, otherwise all you are doing is putting on a performance that you understand but no-one else does?
  • I think that quite a lot of young people are programmed to think that "church is boring" even when it isn't! We face this with our Parade Services which we try to make as interactive as we can, without it becoming a Good Work Assembly or an Entertainment. The problem there too is catering from 5 year olds to 95s all at the same time!
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Here are suggestions:
    1. I have to do this at home, so I am going to be as big a nuisance as I can at school
    2. This is boring compared to what happens at my home church
    3. I will do what my parents allow me to do in church
    4. I need to appear not too over religious with my school friends so I will pay less attention in school worship.
    5. School worship ain't proper worship so I can do what I like in it.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    School worship can be fantastic if it is well prepared. I knew a chaplain who would hold the pupils spellbound every week with his creative assemblies. One week he would bring in a rucksack and unpack it with all the things you need to go on a journey. The next week he would teach them all the words and actions of a new song. And he had a great voice.

    A lot of schools and local churches in the UK have joint collaborations to run the Open the Book project to re enact Bible stories in school assemblies. This was thought up by a group of Christian teachers who discovered that many children did not know a single Bible story. I knew a head teacher who was not that keen on it until the day that Ofsted came and asked the children what they liked best at school. They replied: 'The Open the Book assemblies because we can dress up and tell stories.' Ofsted praised the head for his excellent work in partnering with local stakeholders in the community. So now he tells everyone that this is a brilliant project for schools, churches, teachers and pupils.


  • Do you assault adults if they don't behave how you want? Why do you think it's acceptable to do to children that which would get you a criminal conviction if you did it to an adult?

    "I'm taking you somewhere you hate and making you sit through it by threatening you with violence".

    [/quote]

    1) Do I assault adults if they don't behave as I want ? No, but then there is a different relationship going on. A parent-child relationship is one thing, and a adult/stranger to adult/stranger is another thing. Adults don't slap Adults to "teach them" unless they are nutty.

    2)I am quite old and so I remember the "do this or you're gonna get a slap" culture, that was the norm in the schools and in society in general. When did it go away? The 90's perhaps? What replaced it? A sort of an endless negotiation with toddlers, which ended up in the general lack of respect that was described.

    3) Its about training people into understanding that there are rules to follow, and that they are not above the rules. A quick slap does this. It should not lead to a criminal conviction, but sadly now, I think it probably does.

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    It sounds as if you imbued with the slap the idea that it was the right of an adult to slap a child. It is a fairly short step to take that to the argument that it is the right of a stronger person to slap a weaker person.

    I do not want children learning the second lesson from me.

  • Do you assault adults if they don't behave how you want? Why do you think it's acceptable to do to children that which would get you a criminal conviction if you did it to an adult?

    "I'm taking you somewhere you hate and making you sit through it by threatening you with violence".

    1) Do I assault adults if they don't behave as I want ? No, but then there is a different relationship going on. A parent-child relationship is one thing, and a adult/stranger to adult/stranger is another thing. Adults don't slap Adults to "teach them" unless they are nutty.

    2)I am quite old and so I remember the "do this or you're gonna get a slap" culture, that was the norm in the schools and in society in general. When did it go away? The 90's perhaps? What replaced it? A sort of an endless negotiation with toddlers, which ended up in the general lack of respect that was described.

    3) Its about training people into understanding that there are rules to follow, and that they are not above the rules. A quick slap does this. It should not lead to a criminal conviction, but sadly now, I think it probably does.

    [/quote]

    No, it teaches that if you are bigger and stronger you can enforce your will by inflicting pain on others. My daughter attends church every Sunday with me (she'll be 3 next month) and I will encourage her to be quiet when appropriate and try to keep her away from e.g. crates full of crockery but the vast, vast majority of the congregation are happy to see her at home in church, ambling up and down the aisles and climbing in and out from under the communion table (Church of Scotland so not in use very often). Awe and respect will be conveyed gradually, as when visiting our (SEC) Cathedral last Sunday she joined me at the communion rail and knelt beside me to receive a blessing. I will not be hurting her in or out of church to force compliance. She generally will do what she is asked, though sometimes has to be asked twice or picked up and moved from a situation. Is she paying attention through most of the service? No, but when she does it is amazing. It brought tears to me eyes when I first brought her to a communion service. She had been wandering around and was in the sanctuary in front of the communion table as the consecration began. She stopped, and flopped back onto her heels and knelt watching every action. You can argue that it was curiosity or whatever but, to my mind, I see the Holy Spirit at work. Jesus said "let the little children come to me" not "haul them in front of me and force them to sit still and quiet while you listen to me". Babies, children and young people are not the church of the future, they are the church of today, and shouldn't expect to be warehoused in silence until they can take over the church aged 47.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    All seems a perfectly natural response to utterly inadequate religion.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    How do you define an adequate religion?
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    All the churches I've ever attended had a special nursery or "children's church" for the really little ones to play in, far enough from the sanctuary so that the noise didn't reach. If the toddler sits with the parents, crayons and coloring books are allowed, but not roaming the aisles. At about age ten or twelve they begin to attend the regular service with the parents and are expected to sit quietly, however bored they might be. A little doodling on the program might be excused. No slapping is needed to inforce this, just looks of disapproval when too much fidgeting happens.

    But that's all about the kids and it's the adults who have become disrespectful in my eyes. They come in speaking loudly, while others are trying to get into the spirit of the sanctuary, some bringing coffee and donuts with them, dressed in their shabbiest clothes for God's house, saving their good ones for more important places, latest gossip shared during the Peace, phones left on causing "aren't I cute" chuckles when they go off during the sermon, and a general atmosphere no more reverent than a chance meeting at the grocery store.

    That's the local Methodist church and one of the lesser reasons I switched to the Episcopalian, which isn't quite so informal.

    I think a lot of this stems from the churches attempting to make young people happy.
    The idea being that if they can wear their comfy sweats and text on their phones and listen to music that's similar to what they listen to at parties, they will be happier and stay church members after they're grown. I don't know if there's much evidence that this works. I think it might just make church seem like a sort of second rate activity that is easily dropped altogether.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    A tricky one, as most of the pupils sound like they don’t want to be there but have no choice,
    Same as church, though, as children are brought by their parents, no choice.

    Not relevant to the OP, but relevant to the title. What is “respect”?

    Some thoughts, Not school based, but about small children in church.
    Our place has recently equipped a side area as a children’s Corner. Today a new mum with small baby and two year old girl came for the main service. There was an announcement about the children’s area twice but she did not choose to use it. The baby cried during the sermon, the child
    ( who had no toys with her ) giggled noisily as a nearby parishioner tried to entertain her during the sermon. Eventually someone took the child and mum to the children's Area where they stayed till the end, though did come up for communion.

    My thoughts were mixed and conflicting:
    I welcomed the family.
    I struggled to concentrate during the sermon.
    I wished they would use the children’s area.

    When they did, I felt they were excluded. The mum had no books so could no longer join in.

    I wondered why she came, what she hoped for and how the reality compared.

    I wondered if she was unhappy about being led to the children’s area.

    I wondered if she would come again.
    She chose to come today, nobody made her (unless maybe the vicar had told her she must come before she could have the baby baptised?)
    It really set me thinking.
    I know that I gave up going to church completely when my children were at that stage. It was not worth the hassle, no matter how much I was welcomed.
  • FredegundFredegund Shipmate
    To me, its on a par with trying to get teenagers to behave appropriately in a theatre. They're used to having their phones on during films, and can't understand the effect they have on a live(mostly) cast. As a volunteer FOH at our local amateur theatre, I've had numerous conversations on basic theatre etiquette. How about treating assemblies the same way?
  • Thanks for all of the responses. In answer to one recurring theme, we do try to make services as interactive as possible.
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Here are suggestions:
    1. I have to do this at home, so I am going to be as big a nuisance as I can at school
    2. This is boring compared to what happens at my home church
    3. I will do what my parents allow me to do in church
    4. I need to appear not too over religious with my school friends so I will pay less attention in school worship.
    5. School worship ain't proper worship so I can do what I like in it.

    I love this list, I bet all of those are going on to an extent. But especially the second and last ones.

    Americans in general tend to view religion in hyper-consumerist terms (I am not innocent of this myself). So perhaps Christian teens see that school chapel is a different "product" than what they usually "buy" and decide that it must be inferior and unworthy. Most people, but especially children and adolescents, seem to have a difficult time conceiving of difference except in terms of "better or worse."

    Perhaps non-Christian teens are better able to see "this is not my thing, but I need to respect the fact that it's important for other people and behave ." That's something that teenagers in general find difficult (I know I did at that age), but it's an absolutely crucial part of growing into a mature, decent human being.

    Of course, their elders are often not very good at modeling mature and decent behavior...

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    I think 'permanently glued to a smartphone' describes anyone under 65 these days ...

    (Admittedly that still counts as 'young people' for the church.)
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    edited April 14
    Americans in general tend to view religion in hyper-consumerist terms (I am not innocent of this myself).

    Yep. The first time I took my son to church with me he was about six years-old and I gave him a dime to put in the collection plate when it came around. After it was over he looked at me and said, "I can't believe I paid ten cents for this."
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited April 14
    Moo wrote: »
    How do you define an adequate religion?

    Effective. One that actually binds and blinds.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Americans in general tend to view religion in hyper-consumerist terms (I am not innocent of this myself).

    Yep. The first time I took my son to church with me he was about six years-old and I gave him a dime to put in the collection plate when it came around. After it was over he looked at me and said, "I can't believe I paid ten cents for this."

    Conversely when, about three decades ago, I worked in an Edinburgh boarding school, and had to take the little boarders to church (age 8-14), one of them, for whom church was a new experience, could not believe that this was free and not an extra on the bill. "But it's such fun!" It was fairly standard CofS church and Sunday School.....

    Re. the OP, I wonder if the Christian kids feel more au fait with being in church, and so more relaxed?
  • The RogueThe Rogue Shipmate
    That's OK. My Christianity has neither binded nor blinded me.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Perhaps it is from how they were taught to behave in religious services as youngsters. I admit to being old and cranky but there was no way as a child my mother would have allowed me to run up and down the aisles during a service or squirm around in my seat and play loudly with some toy. I now see children in church behaving this way, as well as on a cell phone.

    I'm curious to know what parents in the Old Days actually did. We have a one-year-old and a three-year-old with delayed speech and as far as I'm concerned, taking them to church is basically about containment.

    Yes, I will stop them from bothering other members of the congregation but stopping them from doing stuff comes at a price; if they have a massive tantrum then that is also disruptive, and as the church is on a busy road junction then just 'taking them out' isn't a great option either. So as far as I'm concerned, if they stay in the open space at the back of church then that's a win; the overall result though is that they aren't actually particularly 'respectful' (in the adult sense) towards the sacred, it's just that the adults can't see them.

    I strongly suspect that what actually happened in the Old Days was that parents whose children were little shits just did what my parents did, i.e. not bring them until they were a bit more mature.

    (Also, there are a lot of adults out there who went to church as children and then never darkened the door of a church again; so the Old Days might have been good at creating respectful children but they didn't create Christians.)[/quot

    As I remember children who misbehaved or babies who were crying in the church were simply taken out to the church hall for a few minutes and then returned when they had calmed down. That is what we did with our children when they were very young. When they were older they liked sitting in front with their friends. If they started acting up, they had to come sit with us. Also other members of the church often would pay attention to fussy children and help parents out. I remember one lady who keep life savers in her purse for fussy children, and others adults offering car keys to babies. There was also a nursery with cribs and such for small babies, and toys for toddlers. I of course would not know if some simply were kept at home. I still am friends with some I attended church with as a child, as are my adult children. I do not remember feeling anything but glad to go to church. I have happy memories as a child of going to sleep against my Mother's coat at Midnight Mass, I looked forward to cookies at coffee hour, and I enjoyed playing with my "church" friends after the service. I doubt if needing to behave is what keeps adult children away from church, as I was also expected to behave in restaurants and I still like eating out. I did not find learning good manners a problem, I found it secure to know what was expected. Your children are still very young and I am sure it will get easier as they grow older to have them in church. It sounds to me as if you could use some help from others in caring for your children during the service. Are there others who sit in the back with you? Are there things for older child to do such as color books Is there a nursery? It must be difficult for you to experience church with fussy children. I give you a lot of credit for making the effort.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I'm 51 and still don't much like going to church, for much the same reasons as when I was 9.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The Rogue wrote: »
    That's OK. My Christianity has neither binded nor blinded me.

    Then it's no religion.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    It’s technically possible to jam mobiles, various shops do it. Your school could arrange to do this for the duration of the service.

    However, all behaviour has a function - if the service isn’t able to engage with its captive audience, perhaps you need to change the service ?

    This. Alternatively, stop making chapel mandatory.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited April 14
    It makes me wonder, possibly unworthily, whether their main church is influencing them to reject and belittle other experiences they may encounter. That's how religion blinds, after all.

    Religion may bind and blind, but God's love opens eyes and frees hearts.
  • the vast, vast majority of the congregation are happy to see her at home in church, ambling up and down the aisles and climbing in and out from under the communion table (Church of Scotland so not in use very often).

    Our place has quite a few small children. We have a nursery, which they are welcome, but not required, to use. There are usually a couple of small babies in the congregation, who make from time to time the sounds that babies make. If it turns into a full-throated bawl, their parents take them out. Every now and then a toddler wanders up the aisle, in search of - well, whatever's going on in their head. Someone will gently corral them back to their pew. I think having kids comfortable in church, so that it seems like home to them, is a good thing.

    Among the older kids? There's a couple of tweens who like to sit together at the back, and often have cellphones out. They also tend to have thoughtful things to say in youth group, and they're well-behaved and respectful-looking on the days they're serving as acolytes, and so "on display".
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Here are suggestions:
    1. I have to do this at home, so I am going to be as big a nuisance as I can at school
    2. This is boring compared to what happens at my home church
    3. I will do what my parents allow me to do in church
    4. I need to appear not too over religious with my school friends so I will pay less attention in school worship.
    5. School worship ain't proper worship so I can do what I like in it.

    2&5 would also lead into 4. Your friends are clearly thinking that "You lot are making Them sing naff (cawliflowers fluffy) songs*. Church is just the same, and you are the type of person that lives for naffness..".

    *I've since grown to appreciate a number of them.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I am a ministers daughter and was a naughty girl in church - giggling with friends at the back, taking no heed of the service.

    This is normal behaviour at that age imo.

    Who wants to sit still if you don’t have to?

    :)
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited April 15
    Typical PK (preachers/parsons kid) behaviour. We are the little girls with a little curl; we were either angels or devils, particularly in front of the congregation. We were going to be commented on, it may as well be for something. The problem was that there was no middle ground behaviourally but we could switch on a pinhead not capable of holding a single angel.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Sounds like the impossible task, keeping a huge group of teens of varying ages, and stages of their maturing development as young adults, focused, engaged and respectful. The learning respect stage is usually something a kid picks up from earliest childhood by example, in my opinion, so that ship may have sailed for a while, if there actually is no habit of self-discipline about controlling one's behaviour in public situations to begin with! And then it is quite natural for teens to push boundaries, further and further. It's part of the CV for growing up, I suppose.

    Ref: so-called pious kids being the worst offenders at religious assemblies. I find that surprising and disappointing. But then they are kids first and foremost, and maybe if they have been trained up to be confident in their beliefs this manifests in a naturally immature psyche as disrespect and intolerance for the 'other'. Especially if they've been given a confidence which doesn't question or test for oneself.
  • The RogueThe Rogue Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    The Rogue wrote: »
    That's OK. My Christianity has neither binded nor blinded me.

    Then it's no religion.

    :smiley:
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    It's interesting, the common view that looking at your phone signifies disrespect. To me it's just externalising the fact that your mind is elsewhere - happened before phones, but was invisible then.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    It's interesting, the common view that looking at your phone signifies disrespect. To me it's just externalising the fact that your mind is elsewhere - happened before phones, but was invisible then.

    I find the whole assumption that you know why someone did something rather bizarre. Like when people say "wearing jeans to church is disrespectful" - well, surely only if you do it because you don't respect whoever or whatever it is it's alleged to be disrespectful of.

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    The number of young vicars who have been yelled at for looking at their phone before a service when what they were doing is checking the readings or the liturgy must now be in double if not treble figures.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    It's interesting, the common view that looking at your phone signifies disrespect. To me it's just externalising the fact that your mind is elsewhere - happened before phones, but was invisible then.

    I find the whole assumption that you know why someone did something rather bizarre. Like when people say "wearing jeans to church is disrespectful" - well, surely only if you do it because you don't respect whoever or whatever it is it's alleged to be disrespectful of.

    I find these quotes helpful. Coming from the Stone Age I WOULD probably jump to the conclusion that someone checking out their phone while conversation, or something they should be attending to, is going on, IS disrespectful. But that's because it was never an opportunity for my generation, under the same circumstances! All we could do was roll our eyes and sigh heavily, or stare out the window! For which, of course, we could be punished, it has to be said.

    But while it's true that getting absorbed in a mobile mainly demonstrates the mind has already travelled elsewhere, I guess we question whether or not it's an appropriate response, depending on what's going on? In a service, eg, a young child might very appropriately play on their tablet, or mobile, quite happily. In the school setting, where the kids are being addressed directly and in an atmosphere of learning and development, it would seem strange to tolerate an explicit manifestation of 'ignoring-ness'. The attitude of being disrespectful, or bored or un-engaged, does not have to be externalized, in every instance, does it?

    So taking on board Karl's point about not knowing the motivations of people, I wouldn't necessarily blame a child or teen for feeling disengaged or bored with something that fails to attract them; but part of growing up is learning how to channel quite legitimate feelings so they don't dictate our behaviours to the extent where we're being disruptive to and ignorant of others.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    If I’m not leading/reading I may look at my phone to see Greek/Hebrew in parallel with the English text, or to see an alternative translation.

    Also for some teenagers I know, I’ve put some sermon-listeners’ questions in a text, and I hope if moved to they might respond - even if that means their fingers are flying while they listen.

    It’s no worse (indeed better) than the adult who tells me after the service, that something I said in the sermon reminded them of a childhood holiday, and have I ever been to Bude?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    In what way is looking at a phone being ignorant? That makes no sense at all.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited April 15
    I think Anselmina May have meant ignorant in the sense of paying no heed to or ignoring others.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    I think Anselmina May have meant ignorant in the sense of paying no heed to or ignoring others.

    Ah right. I forget that some people use the word that way.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    In what way is looking at a phone being ignorant? That makes no sense at all.

    Some people use ‘ignorant’ to mean ignoring others.

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