April is in charge of singing time in Primary, so I watch Peter during Sunday School. There are a grand total of two children under the age of 18 months in our ward, and both Peter and his friend were in the Sunday School class yesterday.
Peter was being a bit squirmy and a little loud; I tried settling him down, and then took him out. Fifteen minutes later he'd settled down a bit so I took him back in; he again insisted on being noisy, so I again took him out. I'm not sure how long we spent in the classroom, but it wasn't more than 10 or 15 minutes, and it's not like he was yelling and screaming. Just complaining a bit.
After class, a member I don't know very well, came up to me and said,
"Brother Jones, I know I don't know you all that well, but could you take your child out of the class a bit earlier? (The teacher) said it sounded like a bus station in there."
Now, average attendance in this ward is 80. We've been there for 18 months. We've been very active in the ward and gotten to know most of the active members fairly well (partly because of the small size of the ward, and partly because of the nature of my calling). I know everyone in the EQ, and all of the ward leadership--I know at least 75% of the active adult men fairly well. I don't know this man (and honestly, I don't really want to). I don't know the Sunday School teacher either. They are both the type who don't reach out to new members and don't really participate in the ward (as far as I know) beyond their callings.
I reacted politely to his criticism, (and now somehow need to balance it with criticism from others that I take Peter out of the classroom too quickly). Inside, though, I was angry.
How do you (and should you) react to child-raising criticism from ward members? Does the source of this criticism matter?