Out of the Mouths of Babes or The Remarkable Influence of Media on the Rising Generation

Yesterday we took our seats in the chapel just as the sacrament hymn was coming to a close. As if our late arrival wasn’t disruptive enough (you’ve got to arrive in good time in order to occupy the more discrete but even more coveted last row), our toddler broke the silence between the hymn and prayer by standing up on the bench and exclaiming, finger pointed to the center section of pews: “Da sind ganz viele Michael Häupls!” (There are a whole bunch of Michael Häupls!). Unlike most of you, I knew that Michael Häupl is the long-serving mayor of Vienna where we live, but I was still quite bewildered why sacrament meeting would prompt such a response. After church my wife told me that our daughter was referring to this poster:

Seasons Greetings_Häupl

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2015

We pass by two copies on our way to church as well as another on the way to the grocery store, and we have discussed who the man is on several occasions. So our toddler wasn’t pulling something out of thin air, she was simply associating the Mormon dress code of white shirt and tie (no one was wearing an apron yesterday, IIRC) with someone she knows from her day-to-day experience–one of Austria’s most powerful socialists.

What new ways of seeing the world have the children in your lives taught you?


  1. He’s still going?

    Middle son has taught me the limits of holy envy. He finds Anglican services as boring as LDS ones.

  2. fun post Peter and great point, Ronan!

    Just a couple of days ago, my oldest (13) taught me a thing or two about why Saruman might have created an army of Uruks for Sauron, when he was ostensibly trying to resist or undermine him. Very insightful — I knew of her love for LotR but hadn’t realized she’d been thinking things through to that extent.

  3. Yep, twenty years this past fall.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    I wonder whether Anglicans are amused by all the Mormon love for their tradition, given that most actual Anglicans seem to take a view like Ronan’s middle son.

  5. Our youngest turned out to have attention deficit disorder, so church was a challenge. With his four older sibs we often sat on the back row in the overflow/cultural hall. One Sunday before his first birthday, during the long silence as the sacrament was passed, he began thrashing around in protest at being held. He threw back his head and was immediately entranced with what he saw – “Mom! Mom! Mom! Basketball! Basketball! Basketball!”

    I wondered if he thought basketball was a part of our worship service. [I know it is for his daddy – jk].

  6. We always attend a Christmas Eve service at my mom’s non-denominational feels-a-like-a-Methodist church. Last year during a quiet part of the service my 5 year old daughter pointed to the cross at the front of the sanctuary and asked, “Why is there a big T on the wall?”

  7. When I was a missionary teaching a family from Madagascar, the 5-year-old daughter liked to sit on my lap. One day she kept pushing my nose like a button and saying something which her mother didn’t want to translate (the little girl spoke only Malagasy, and I spoke only French and English). Finally her mother said, “She wants to know why your nose is so big.”

    My nose, I assure you, is a perfectly normal European nose, but it contrasted with the little Malagasy girl’s broader, flatter African nose. That little girl showed me for the first time that *I* could be the variant model, the one with the accent and the awkward manners.

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