Monday, July 13, 2009

It takes a parent

Responsibility. It is a simple word really, but why does it seem that nobody wants to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions?

My wife, one of my kids and I were having a nice dinner at a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant the other night. There were two table near us with screaming kids aged 2 - 4 that the parents just let scream. I mean SCREAM. In fact, one set of parents laughed at their kid each time she screamed, they were encouraging bad behavior. And don't think for a moment that I have a problem with the kid. The issue is the parent who does not or will not accept the responsibility they took on to mold a good citizen of the world when they decided it was a good idea to reproduce. Being a parent is hard, it is not for the weak of heart, but if you raise your children well, the reward is huge.

If you let your young kid misbehave and use bad manners etc, what you end up with is an older kid / young adult who is incapable of discerning when they are using poor manners and judgment. the example of this was at the next table - college age boy, hat on backward, elbows on the table shoveling food in his mouth while his parents sat across from him and watched... If I did that as a young man my parents would have corrected me at once, for that matter - they still would.

I think back to Hillary Clinton's book "It Takes a Village." I wish. If it took a village, I would have told the young kids to stop their screaming and then taken action to achieve that objective without further delay. same thing goes for hat on (backwards) at the table boy. Show some class - remember when we had class?


  1. The sad thing is that the account you describe is not that far removed from what our government has done to so many American citizens by encouraging bad behavior and creating 'children' unwilling, or incapable, of accepting responsibility for their actions.

  2. It seems more and more like this is the norm, this kind of behavior from parents and kids in public. I too was raised during a time when this was almost unheard of, and yes, thought to show a lack of class. I remember, as a child, a time when being in public meant being on your best behavior, or suffering dire consequences; even if being “in public” simply meant that there were people visiting in your own home, what we referred to as having “company.” I remember that if we went out to eat at a restaurant - a rare treat indeed - we always wore our best clothes. I remember a time when people wouldn’t think of traveling by plane or train, which meant being in an airport or train station, without dressing up. That just doesn’t happen any longer, does it? I remember being in 6th grade, and each week for the better part of the school year, every Thursday after school, we were required to participate in ballroom dancing. As a normal 6th grade boy, I really didn’t enjoy it very much. We had, though, to come to school dressed up; boys in coat and tie and girls in their best dresses. My 6th grade teacher made an observation after a few weeks that wasn’t lost on my 6th grade brain, and which I remember to this day because, I had to agree, it was inherently true. She observed we were exponentially better behaved when we were dressed up. In fact, we were almost sub-consciously so; we never even realized it. Maybe the problem is we’ve just become too informal. Or worse yet, maybe we just don’t care any longer to make an effort. It sounds like the parents of these kids failed in this regard. I do agree though with Mr. Henry that the kids are not to blame. I have, on a number of occasions, honestly made an effort to re-educate these types of parents. I’ve never been one who has had much restraint in THIS regard. When old enough to understand, I’ve been known to say, loud enough for their parents to hear, “I really can’t blame you for being a brat, as it’s your parents who are ultimately to blame for your behavior.” I do, however, disagree with Mr. Henry, as I don’t think these parents are showing a lack of class; it’s just that they now spell it with a “K.”



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