They're Your Responsibility

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your children are your responsibility.

I belong to a writers' critique group that meets at a coffee house on Saturday afternoons. We read our work to the group and then discuss how to improve our writing.

It's a family-friendly coffee shop, and we often see children there. It even has a bookshelf filled with books and puzzles and games to keep young visitors entertained. They do get a little rowdy sometimes, but their parents hush them and we go on reading.

Not this past Saturday.

Two women came in with three children in tow. While the women ordered their coffee, the two boys raced around and around the tables where we were meeting. They were faster and far noisier than two squirrels chasing each other around a tree. We couldn't hear our members read.

We waited for the women to say something. Nothing.

Or maybe one of the employees would speak up. No.

Finally one of our members stood up and politely but firmly told the boys they were being rude. He also asked the responsible adults to control the children. One of the women said something I couldn't hear, but I didn't get the impression that she was apologizing.

To the boys' credit, they immediately sat down and stopped making noise. I'm assuming they just didn't think about how their actions affected others until someone pointed it out.

But a stranger shouldn't have to be the one to bring it to their attention.

Yes, children do act like children. I'll even admit that I let mine get away with more than I should have. But I drew the line at letting them disrupt other people.

Because they were my responsibility.

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