Elder Johnson had an interesting group last week. Let me give you some back ground. Children are always welcome at Carthage Jail, but some are less of a distraction than others. We can entertain children as young as three or four years old depending on their maturity and make-up of the rest of the group, but children younger than that are usually bored. Brigham Young used to say, "Crying children like good intentions should be carried out." Occasionally, a toddler is out of control and the parent is so anxious to be here that they ignore their screaming offspring. It is rare, but occasionally a young'n can cause havoc for the whole group.
So this week Elder Johnson took a group of 29 consisting of five or six families. Twelve of the group were children under the age of seven which is fine, but five of those kids were under age fifteen months. Unfortunately, all of the parents had gone into la la land and were ignoring the squeals and cries. We usually have five stops throughout the jail ending with the last stop in the jailer's master bedroom where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred.
Well, by the time Elder Johnson got to the martyrdom room as we call it, it appeared that the parents were deep in a trans as all five babies ran amok. I can just see it...five toddlers climbing in the window seals, under the antique bed, and balancing on the benches meant for weary guests. Those babies took the center stage right away from Elder Johnson and though incredibly cute, couldn't really tell much of the story.
Okay, well you can imagine the rest. Elder Johnson merely talked loud and tried with little success to focus on the message to be given. Who knows if anyone heard a thing. What do you do?
Tip for parents: There was one clever mom who entertained her baby with a waded up Kleenex. She took a clean tissue and made it into a ball. With a ball that couldn't roll into hidden corners or make any noise whatsoever, she played fetch with it. Wow...so clever. Her baby did fantastic and the whole group benefited.