Thursday, January 21, 2010
An Open Letter to Parents
I must preface this note by admitting to you that I don’t have children of my own. However, after teaching middle school for a good number of years, and because a good portion of my clients are children, I believe I am somewhat qualified to offer the following:
Many of your kids are much too loud in public.
I apologize if you take offense at this, but it’s true, and the rolled eyes and dirty looks thrown your way by others in restaurants, churches, and stores confirms my observations.
Last night, whilst enjoying a burger at my neighborhood spot, several of you sat on one side of the restaurant, and allowed your children to sit away from you. Granted, these children were old enough to sit alone (or so I thought). Those young people were unspeakably rude – their volume was much too loud and their conversation was questionable. You were too busy enjoying your $2 margaritas to notice, but I, and others, did. We were not amused.
A while back, you took a small group of children to one of my favorite haunts. You sat with them, but allowed them to run amok, make messes, and generally create chaos. You also left the mess for the busboy to clean, and I couldn’t help but notice you didn’t leave a tip.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love children – I absolutely adore them. I’ve dedicated a good portion of my life’s work to them. I need some help, though: I can’t teach them proper behavior if you don’t back me up on it.
Most likely, you simply don’t notice their shenanigans, and I understand – they may, in fact, behave far worse at home, and their raucous actions in public are actually a break for you. I gently remind you, though, that your family is not the only one frequenting these places. Please show respect for other patrons by expecting your children to behave in a civilized manner.
Years ago, I had the very good fortune to accompany a group of middle school students to Italy. While strolling through the quiet, lovely streets of Florence, I lost my cool vibe when I was forced to tell one of my students to lower her voice. Her mother stood right next to her as she wailed, moaned, and generally made a spectacle of herself. Mom didn’t say a word, so it was up to Mrs. Newman to do so. Mom then took me to task for not allowing her daughter to express herself.
Please trust me, Mom; no one finds your daughter quite as amusing as you do.
Again, my apologies for the harsh tone. I really do love your children; I simply ask that we join forces to instill in them good manners, and the recognition that the world does not revolve around them.
Image Consultant/Life Coach
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