Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of disrespectful and inappropriate behavior at public events. It all started a couple of days before Thanksgiving when I attended a pre-school party.
Before the children entered, the parents and their other children, along with other guests, gathered in the party room. Children were running wild as their parents ignored them…and in some cases even encouraged their bad behavior (for some reason, some parents find it amusing, even cute, when their children misbehave). A concerned grandparent told me to stand by and hold him back. Then he invited me to observe the “idiot parents”. He stated that people had shared concerns with him involving the students behavior. He said, “Just watch the parents…that will tell you why they have problems with the kids.”
Then, this past Sunday, I observed more of the same. I attended the Muncie Community Christmas Sing in order to help and support Emily as her choir performed. This event brings together each of the schools within the Muncie Community system, as well as many groups from our community. I believe the intent is to unite our community to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But, that intent is often lost when you begin to observe the behaviors of those in attendance.
At the Christmas Sing, it all started when the mayor of Muncie was introduced. There was an overwhelming chorus of “boos” as she approached the stage. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that in this enviornment people would actually “boo” any participant.
Now, I will take into account that we were in Muncie at the Fieldhouse. So, maybe the citizens of Muncie were simply confused and thought the emcee was introducing the starting line-up for the Anderson Indians or Marion Giants.
Don’t get me wrong. I am notthe mayors biggest fan. I don’t always agree with her policies and agenda. However, I think there is a time and a place to voice ones opinion. A community event that is about uniting around the celebration of the birth of Jesus would not be an appropriate venue to voice ones dislike of a politician.
I wish that was the end…However, it was simply just the start.
Throughout the event, I witnessed those in attendance being rude and disrespectful. People spoke loudly during performancs. People answered and made cell phone calls during performances. If it’s that important to have a conversation or take a phone call either don’t come to the event or simply excuse yourself into the hallway. I witnessed parents swearing at their children. I could go on and on.
Recently, I had a person ask me why todays youth are so disrespectful. My answer: It’s a learned pattern of behavior that has been passed down from generation to generation. As our society becomes more and more individualistic and consumer-driven, we see a lack of concern for ones fellow people. It’s all about “me.” Children are taught that it’s about getting what they want, when they want it. Children are disrespectful and don’t know how to behave in public because their parents are disrespectful and don’t know how to behave in public.
I know many teachers and church leaders who try to teach their students proper etiquette and manners. But, those lessons are often lost as soon as the child goes home. Why? Because they see their parents show a totally lack of respect for others. Now, I understand this is an over-generalization. But, it rings true in many settings I encounter on a regular basis.
Parents, do me a favor…Please teach your children how to be respectful. Please teach your children how to behave in public (it might even impact how they behave at home). Please lead by example. Please practice what you preach. If you don’t know how to behave in public or show respect to those around you, buy a book or seek out help. Make an effort so that you won’t be referred to as an “idiot parent.”