As we face the new school year, I’ve been struggling to face my kids growing up and all the changes our family dynamic and routine is going through. Why? Because I love them. I love them so much it squeezes the breath out of my throat and brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how quickly they’re growing up and how soon they’ll truly be their own persons instead of my kids.
And then I read articles like this one, about how people are designating kid-free restaurants and kid-free airplanes and even kid-free beaches and parks because people are tired of being disrupted by kids. And not only am I appalled by the article, but even more so by the comments–the 100’s of comments–filled with, well, hatred, against “the whiny brats” and “yard apes.”
Truly, I’m as appalled at this outpouring of vitrolic criticism from supposedly mature adults as I am by some of the behavior they are complaining about. This really amounts to nothing more than age-discrimination and if it was reversed to people over 65 there would be all kinds of hell to pay about it. I’m not saying that there’s not atrocious child behavior going on in public places occasionally. No doubt, there is! But where has the sense of “hate the sin but love the sinner” gone?
Why not ban people who talk to loud on their cell phone in the next booth over?
Why not ban people who drink to much and laugh to loud while you’re trying to have a nice dinner?
What about people who smell bad or use foul language?
You know what I find offensive? People who go to public parks and then expect everyone to behave the way they want them too. Buy a bigger yard and stay home. Our tax dollars go to those public spaces too.
The point is that the discussion should be about poor behavior in public–and it’s not restricted to kids. Restaurants, airplanes, parks and beaches, any of these places should be able to request that someone leave if they are disrupting everyone else, regardless of their age, race, or gender. The underlying issue here is that there’s a national disagreement about appropriate public etiquette. And I agree with that for sure! That’s a discussion that needs to be had!
I’m constantly appalled by the behavior around us when we go out. But it’s usually not my kids. I’m usually praying my kids don’t notice or hear what’s going on around them. We, personally, stay home more and more because I don’t trust other adults to set an appropriate example for my children–it has little to do with my children’s behavior at all.
This disdain and dislike for kids simply because they are loud and run around a lot is dangerous. I’m shocked when I see some of the quotes from people about wanting peace and quiet and being tired of kids being around and how they don’t want kids of their own for a reason. Or they’ve raised their kids and now think they should be done with “all that stuff.”
On one hand, I agree that there’s a time and place for everything. Absolutely. And that should be a national dialogue.
But on the other hand, we all have a vested interested in this generation growing up with strong bodies and sound minds. Yes, all of us. (Maybe even especially those that are older or don’t have kids of their own!) There’s no place in this dialogue for name calling and character attacks. Especially on those who are too young to even participate in the discussion!
These children–my children–will be your future doctors and specialists and researchers. They’ll be building your retirement communities and managing your golf courses. They’ll be handling your retirement funds and running the companies that make up your portfolio. They’ll be the policymakers voting on Medicare and Social Security and tax code amendments and managing the national debt. They’ll be the soldiers marching on foreign soil to protect your lifestyle at home and the small business owners providing the theaters and restaurants you want to kick them out of.
If you treat them with contempt and dislike now, how will they choose to treat you later?
I hope all my readers will join me today in being THANKFUL for our future generation. May they grow up strong and healthy, bright and bold, and full of heart for the work ahead of them.