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Day At The Museum

On Black Friday, I took the day off.  Not to shop; my son’s daycare was closed and I didn’t want to burden my mother-in-law and ask her to watch him.  We were awake and getting ready for the day close to our normal time during the week, as we had to drive my husband to work that morning.  After leaving my poor sweetheart in the cold and clammy hands of DFAS, the boy and I set off for the Children’s Museum.  They were open earlier than normal due to an eight AM appearance from Santa and a 30% off sale in the gift shop, which was nice because my boy’s one wish for the day was to run around the museum until he collapsed.

We spent about four hours wandering the halls, playing with interactive exhibits, and having a blast.  At one in the afternoon, however, I was beyond ready to get the hell out of that place.  We had decided to make the Yule Slide one of our last stops before leaving; it is a large two person slide going from the second story down to the first and it is one of my boy’s favorite parts of the museum.  Only open during the holiday months, it draws quite the crowd and can be enjoyed by both adults and children.

The thing that made me grateful to be leaving after the slide, other than my tired legs and slight headache from the sounds of excited children, were the parents.  While in line for the slide, I lost count of how many times I was stepped on, bumped into, elbowed by, or almost stepped on the 4-year-old boy behind me.  His sister was a little better at keeping her distance, but made up for it by hanging on the ropes that were keeping the line in order, knocking it down and into people twice.  While these two children were annoying myself and others in line, their father remained glued to his smartphone, frantically typing away at who knows what.  He did stop twice to offer up a “now, stop it guys” that helped absolutely none.  He was so oblivious to what was going on around him that I was able to say something to him about his kids and have it go completely unnoticed.

Being a parent is hardly a walk in the park.  Kids can go from zero to destructive at the drop of a hat; you cannot take your eyes off of them for a second when they’re young.  Kids can also be incredibly annoying, but you can hardly blame someone so young for such bad behavior.  The blame goes to the lazy, incompetent parent or parents.  Those like the man in the museum who are more concerned with their own activities than with what their children are getting into.  Those who find it adorable when their kid eats with their mouth wide open, snatches toys away from friends, and colors on the walls.  Those who fail to teach their child how to be a polite and responsible person.

It’s not necessary to strive to be the perfect mommy or daddy, the kind you would see on the cover of a parenting magazine who is able to juggle a full-time job with raising rambunctious children, cooking dinner each night, balancing extracurricular activities, and having date nights and childless outings with friends.  You don’t need to be the parent who never raises their voice and who never loses their patience.  You don’t need to expect to be able to keep your kids in line 100% of the time.  All you have to do is care and put forth an effort.  If more parents took a minute to teach their children some table manners, servers and diners in restaurants around the world would be much happier, much calmer, and a lot less apprehensive about waiting on or sitting near a table with children.

I’ve been babysitting since I was ten, watching the neighbor’s kids while my own parents were nearby in case of emergency.  I went solo when I was 13 and also began doing some volunteer work at an elementary school.  I’ve always had a lot of time around kids and I’ve noticed that over the years, their behavior has gone downhill at a steady rate.  I’ve gone from expecting to hear “please” and “thank you” to being shocked when I do actually hear it.  As much as I want to drop kick some children, I can’t really get mad at them; they wouldn’t act this way if their parents cared.

Bad parents breed bad kids who grow up to be bad parents themselves.  We are slowly but surely filling the world with rude pigs that are impossible to be around and wildly irritating.  Sitting through a movie without some idiot in the theater getting on their phone or talking/eating loudly is a thing of the past.  You’re more likely to have a door slam in your face than to have someone hold it open for you.  People shout “I want” at the drive-thru and at restaurants rather than saying “can I get” or something a bit more polite.  This awful behavior comes from a childhood absent of guidance and education on how to act and how to be a good person.  Getting us back to that time when people cared is such an easy fix:  start with the kids.

As parents, we have to lead by example and we have to teach our children how to behave and why they should behave in this manner.  We need to ensure they are respectful towards both adults and their peers.  We must guide them on how to do certain things, such as keeping their hands to themselves and eating properly, to ensure they grow up properly and avoid becoming a sloppy and thoughtless adult.  The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to do.  Kids are like sponges and the “please/thank you” will become habitual quite quickly, as will other positive actions and behaviors.  Make the effort, don’t be a lazy parent, and be proud of the fact that your kid is walking calmly along, smiling quietly to themselves while the other rugrats tear apart the grocery store and shame their oblivious parents.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on November 26, 2012, in Crazy People, Family, Fun!, Kids, Life, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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