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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sit Down And Be Quiet!

I watch people when we are in public. I especially watch parents interact with their children, especially small children. I am often amazed at how utterly helpless parents seem when it comes to controlling the behaviour of their small children.

I have seen parents just walk off and ignore a screaming child.

I have seen children walk all over a restaurant even approaching other people's tables.

I have seen big, hulking men brought to their wits end by a belligerent, uncooperative child.

I have seen children stand on their head and crawl under the table in a restaurant.

I have seen parents put a whole shelf of merchandise in the cart just to keep the child quiet (OK maybe that is a slight exaggeration).

I have seen parents yell at their children in public.

I have seen parents simply ignore the behaviour of their children no matter how obnoxious they were being.

I have often joked that my wife and I eat out for research purposes. We are doing behavioural studies, examining the interesting phenomena of a 25 or 30 pound toddler thoroughly outwitting and making an absolute fool out of people that are 20 to 25 years older than them. I have seen a lot of things that make for good sermon illustrations!

It would really be funny were it not so sad. I just read an article today that reminded me of how many parents simply have no idea how to produce sweet, compliant, quiet, children.

The second paragraph related the heart of the story:

"Julie and Gerry Kulesza and daughter Elly were removed from the flight when the girl refused to take her seat before takeoff, airline officials said Tuesday. But her parents said they just needed a little more time to calm her down."

I cannot imagine any of our children refusing to take a seat we told them to take. If they had the whole incident would have been over in a few seconds! The parents attitude is why they were having trouble with the child. They believed that every one of the other travellers should be patient with them and give them the time they needed to coax the little rebel into her seat. If they needed to provide her with some training about doing what she was told, the airplane was not the place to do it. Since they had not done it at home they should have been removed and had their lesson in the terminal. There is always another flight. Don't expect people to wait on you to teach what you should have taught at home!

At first I applauded the airline for removing them only to discover at the end of the article that they reimbursed them the money for the three tickets and gave them three round trip tickets to anywhere the airline flies. Oh, that is just great. Now instead of the parents going home and thinking, "You know what, we have got to do something to get this child under control," they are rewarded with two free flights and everybody is happy except the unfortunate travelers that find themselves on the flight when they redeem the free tickets.

But the Dad said it was too late for that, they would never fly that airline again. Oh......too bad.....now we know where the little girl gets it.......
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