Here’s a question for you parents out there.
The other night, I attended a patriotic concert show with some friends. It was a great show, with a mix of music, songs and tributes to our servicemen and servicewomen.
Behind us was a family with a young child. He was cute as a button, and I estimated his age at 3 or 4.
Really, he was a really cute kid.
But he wouldn’t shut up. He talked through the whole show. He kept asking his grandmother (or maybe it was his aunt), “What them doing?” during slow spots. I think I heard, “What them doing?” about 400 times in two hours. He complained that he wanted to see more “horsies” after a scene involving soldiers riding horses onto the stage concluded.
Once in a while, as he was traded from lap to lap by his family, he even was kicking my shoulder or my seat, and surely those of other people who he happened to sit behind at any given moment.
Needless to say, it was distracting. Irritating. And needless to say, he was getting next to nothing out of this program, because he was too young to figure out the majority of what was being depicted.
But I wasn’t angry at the little boy at all. At that young of an age, what else is he going to do? I might have been more quiet than this when I was that age. But I can assure you of one thing: if I had been as disruptive as this little boy, my folks would have taken me out of the show. Would they have been wrong to do so?
So here’s the question: should it be the parents’ job to make sure that their child is behaving appropriately in such a situation, or should it be up to the people around them to point out to them that their child is being a distraction?
Just for the record, I didn’t say anything, though I came close when the kicking was going on. I realize that when you’re with your child 24/7, you quickly become used to all of the questions a child asks. So to them, maybe this is just another day. I also wondered whether this child might have an emotional issue, or some other situation going on.
But the point is, I was doing all of this processing when I should have been able to concentrate on the show that I was attending.
But does being a parent give you a valid excuse to lose touch with etiquette when other people are around? And how would your own parents have handled a similar situation if you were the one being a distraction?