Friday, December 09, 2005
Interesting article I stumbled upon this morning. (click on the image above to read it)
According to this article, there is a growing trend for business owners to become restrictive towards children in their establishments. The cafe in Chicago that is receiving so much publicity over this posted a cute sign saying, “Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices.” And if that rule is broken, the parent will be chastised.
So, is this a symptom of a anti-child trend in society or merely a symptom of low expectations of behavior for our children? I am thinking that perhaps it is a little of both. Many business owners that are following this trend are in areas of cities where fewer families live and childless adults are the majority. I can say from my own experience, those who don't have children are FAR less tolerant of them. But, I am sad to say that far too often when I am out in public, I have witnessed atrocious behavior out of children and am amazed that their parent witnesses it and ignores it.
Now, I do not want to be accused of being the pot calling the kettle black. As a parent of 4 children, I have had more occasions than I would like to admit to where my own unruly children have been the culprits of public disturbances. But, through the experience of my 11 years of parenting I have (hopefully) gotten a bit better about keeping a rein on my children and have taught them about what kinds of behavior is expected in certain circumstances. Through these years I have also felt the icy chill of judgment when I walk into a public establishment with my 4 children in tow. I have had people judge me for even HAVING four children and also see them immediately assume that they will be misbehaved.
Since we have allowed God to dictate the size of our family, I really feel like we have to work hard not to be an embarrassment to Him. Perhaps that is why I can be keenly aware of uncontrolled children when we are out. Because I continually work on training my own little ones, I cringe when I see other parents letting their children call the shots and run wild. I have been there myself. It is A LOT of work to keep children in line. Especially when you are out trying to get something accomplished, it is exhausting to have to focus a large portion of your energy on disciplining your children.
I am seeing that training children while they are young has its benefits. A year or so ago, I was listening to a woman speak about home organization and child training. She was a funny lady told how often other parents would come up to her and say, "But your children are so much more well behaved. It is easier for you." She would laugh and ask them, "Well, where do you think I got them? Well-Behaved Children R Us? No, I trained them to be this way!" That has really stuck with me. I place a much higher priority now on training my children. It is a work in progress, I still have a long way to go, and we all have much to learn. I pray daily for God's wisdom and guidance on this journey so hopefully I won't be the one that the store owner taps on the shoulder to discuss my children's bad behavior! :)