Thursday, October 12, 2017

Do You Applaud Good Behavior and Ignore the Bad?

Children playing

The older I get the more I seem to love the sound of children playing.  Sitting in my living room on any given late evening in summer, I delight in the squeals and interactions of children playing outside.  Skipping rope, riding bikes, playing hide and seek in the dusk all bring back memories of when my kids were growing up.

However, please tell me if I am alone in this -- when I hear kids yelling at their parents, swearing at each other and their parents, screaming in rebellion for any number of things, that is a whole different scenario.  I would never have tolerated it as a young parent and I certainly would never tolerate it if my grands did that.
Children in restaurant
Grandson with his main squeeze

I am forever grateful that my daughter is raising her children to respect and love one another, young and old.

So......what do you do when you are having a dinner out and you can't enjoy any part of it because of disruptive, misbehaved, rude and bratty kids in the restaurant?

A couple years ago I wrote an article asking if kids were getting angrier and the response was amazing.  Read that article here -- Are Kids Angrier than Before?  There are many contributing factors but most of them are excuses.  No matter how busy we are we have the time and the resources to teach our kids to show respect and to be polite. 

Toddler in restaurant
Trying not to be messy
Here is my question to you?  What do you do when you are in that restaurant and you can't enjoy your meal because of other people's children?  Do you say something?  Do you leave?  Do you ask the waitress to move you?  Do you stare and scowl?  Do you have to dodge the food being thrown?  Mute your ears to the intense noise?  Through the corner of my eye, I see the parents giving in to every whine and whim.  They want quiet - not justice.  So, they cave.

Personally, I usually try to ignore the noise and thank God I don't have to be around it for more than the duration of my meal.  I often wonder how people live in that environment on a daily basis.

Flip that coin over and I am offering a challenge to you.  Whenever I am in a public place, especially a restaurant, and I see the polar opposite behavior, I applaud it.  I observe parents interacting with their kids.  I see the children asking politely for something to be passed to them or to be excused to go to the restroom or........  I watch the smiles and nods of approval by the parents as they are enjoying their time as a family.

Every single time I see this happen, I get up from my seat as the family is leaving and applaud them.  I thank the kids for their great behavior in a public place and tell the parents what awesome kids they have.  They are always appreciative, sometimes even eyes tearing up in gratefulness for the compliment.  Parents need to be encouraged that their hard work is noticed.
Kids in restaurant
Lemons are great

Recently, my daughter and her family were having dinner at a very nice restaurant.  An older couple was celebrating their anniversary at a table nearby and they asked if our grandkids would be able to join them at their table.  Rochelle and Thomas were a bit shocked but the couple explained how much they missed their little ones and was so impressed at how polite our two little ones (one year and five years old) were.  My son-in-law told the couple it would be an honor and then enjoyed their meal without the little ones.  When leaving, he paid for the couples' dinner without their knowledge.  I am sure it will be an evening this elderly couple will treasure for years.

Most of us, as parents and grandparents, want the best for our kids.  We want them to have balanced lives.  This does not happen by chance.  It takes work, just as a marriage takes work.  But the rewards are great and worth every ounce of effort. 

I watch a new generation of young people who live in a world of entitlement.  This saddens me as the repercussions to that thought process is unhealthy.  Working hard for what you want in life has proven successful for generations.  Feeling that the world owes you something, especially a living, is scary.  Which kids do you think will be the ones involved in riots or may be criminals in the making?

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