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Incredibles 2 and Parenting

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Hi folks, Mark here.

We just got home from seeing Incredibles 2. It’s a LOT of fun, and well worth the 14 year wait. (Yes, it HAS been 14 years.) We thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

However, there was something we didn’t enjoy, so let me address that.

Dear parents:

Please be parents.

Please teach your children how to behave in public. Please teach them that kicking and pushing the back of the seat in front of them is rude because there is someone in that seat. Please teach them how to whisper. Quietly. While you’re at it, please learn to whisper yourself when answering questions from your little ones, because the people all around you paid over $10 per seat to see and hear what’s on the screen, not listen the dialogue between you and your quizzical child.

I know times have changed. Concepts of child rearing have “evolved” to the point that now parents practically let their children go “free range”. When I was a kid my mom would shush me when I was inconsiderate. She taught me that my feet were supposed to be on the floor, not on the furniture. And – does any one else remember being pinched by your mom when your mouth got out of control? She would get a good grip on some skin and squeeze, increasing the pressure until it was enough to make you realize you were in deep water without a boat but would soon be experiencing contact with a paddle if you didn’t shut your mouth.

But, as I said, times have changed.

Today it seems children are allowed to freely express themselves even when that expression is disruptive and inconsiderate. Also today when someone complains about the behavior of a child that person is rude, inconsiderate, and hateful, because children should be free to be children. Apparently even at the expense of everyone around them.

This is not exclusive to movie theaters, parents. It includes restaurants, shopping centers, grocery stores, and practically any public place except for a playground where kids are expected to cut loose and burn off energy. Loudly.

Parents, please teach your children to respect others. We all understand that kids will be kids, and that they get excited and loud and rambunctious, and that’s perfectly OK until that happens in a social situation where their behavior is disrespectful and disruptive.

At that point the rest of us will shrug off their behavior because they’re children. But even the most patient people can only endure so much bad behavior.

A pastor friend once told a story about encountering a screaming child in a grocery store. He kept passing by the shopping cart, the child grabbing for various items and the harried mom putting those items back on the shelf, and the child screeching because it wasn’t getting what it wanted. Eventually they crossed paths at the meat counter where he reached past the mom and child to get a package of chicken as the child screeched, and the mom said, “Kids. Whattaya do?” He answered, “Pistol whip ’em. Wanna borrow mine?”

True story.

I’m not advocating violence (neither was he), so don’t gasp and clutch your peals. I am, however, advocating a return to teaching children how to be considerate of others around them and to treat what doesn’t belong to them with respect. They will grow up to be happier, and they will make a positive difference for the world around them.

So, parents – please be parents.

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