Children - Love Them and Leave Them
Last weekend I attended the Scottish Heritage Weekend activities at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. A highlight of the weekend was the Friday night performance by the award-winning St. Andrews Pipe Band. It was held indoors in a rather small theater. The program also featured two singers with excellent voices. The program was outstanding.
There was only one problem. In attendance were several very young children, whose constant chatter, then fussing and crying, interfered with the enjoyment of the program. It was not so bad when the bagpipes and drums pretty much drowned them out. But, their multiple sounds were most distracting during the introductions by the master of ceremonies, the playing of the exquisite small pipes, and during the singers' performances. To this, the parents seemed completely oblivious.
This got me to thinking. I love children. My professional career has been dedicated to the care and nuture of children. There is nothing better in this world than to see happy children at play. I truly enjoy the young pre-schoolers and those of elementary school age. We can learn a lot by observing children and listening to their interaction with each other. I do not adhere to the premise that "children should be seen and not heard".
However, children do not have to go everywhere with their parents. Sometimes it seems that young parents have never heard of baby sitters. Maybe these parents are career oriented or both work by necessity and feel guilty about leaving their children behind when they go out to an event. I don't really know their motivations, but more and more I observe children at places and events that are not child-friendly. I'll go so far as to state that some situations are so inappropriate that they are unfair, if not harmful, to the children.
Either the children are "hushed" and attempts are made to force them into non age-appropriate behavior, or they are ignored and allowed to do the things children do, disturbing adult patrons of the event. In either case, they are being taught bad lessons.
My daughter, who has worked as a waitress and a bartender at fine establishments, tells stories of children running wild in the bar, completely ignored by the parents. We have all experienced the distractions of children (who rightfully should be at home, in bed, and sound asleep at the time) at movies, concerts, plays, and fine adult-oriented restaurants.
Children: Love them, Love them, Love them. But, know that there are times when it is preferable, both for them and for you, to leave them at home with a responsible party.