Saturday, March 25, 2006

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.


Blogger jens said...

Well, well, well, if the greatest-Gore-invention-ever hasn't proven useful - my uncle, the blogger! And look, I found my favorite cousin, too! As for children, loving them, leaving them....I just had dinner with my two and a "spouse" of one of my co-workers (can't call them dependents anymore...they're family members or spouses. Hey unless you work, you're a dependent in my book...Ed) and her three. At McDonalds on station. Fortunately, there was one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children there with his 5 yr old sitting near us. His parents were professional clowns. The dinner started with my cherub-like son screaming for the plastic knife that I took from him (yeh - I actually DID let him have it at first....probably will again next time...) when he kept hitting Diva with it. He then threw himself on the floor after leaning across the table for five minutes or so screaming for the knife. He rolled moaning under the bench seats. Then he came out and leaned moaning against me, then he went to the ordering counter area and began screaming again, while lying on his stomach with his face in his hands...all the while, the other children are either eating or walking back and forth with the REALLY DISTURBING GNOMEISH happymeal toys. Finally I pick the cross-dressing demon up and hold him while he cries and whines, and laughs as I tickle him, only to pout when I stop. Then the big kid of the clowns starts entertaining ALL the kids - and JAckie and I get to visit, and ignore the fact that our children have attached themselves to this man's table like a fungus....we thanked him of course later....Hey, at least we didn't go to Ruby Tuesdays....Love to all -

March 30, 2006  

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