Where have all the manners gone?
Last night was The Girl’s violin concert at school. Our school has a Suzuki program, and for this event, all the second and third grade classes perform a few songs, one class a time.
As they waited for their turn, all the other classes sat on the floor in front of the stage to watch the concert.
But, over the sounds of “Lightly Row” and “Song Of the Wind,” all I could hear was the talking.
The talking, the talking, the talking.
More than a murmur or a low hum of voices, it was a full-on gabfest.
Oh, but it wasn’t the kids. I was sitting a few rows back, but from where I sat they seemed to be a pretty quiet, well-behaved bunch.
Nope, the voices belonged to the grown-ups in the room. The example-setters. The parents.
And I’m pretty sure that their leader was the woman behind me on her cell phone.
I mean, come on.
You can’t tell me that the average adult doesn’t know how to behave at a recital. Even if the crowd applied the lowest standard of movie-going behavior to last night’s concert, most everyone would have sat there, shutting the hell UP. I’m not even talking about fancy, which-fork-do-I-use manners. Who doesn’t know this?
It wasn’t just a few people, is what was so stunning to me. Fully one third to one half of the crowd had to be talking in order to make the noise I heard. While their children and grandchildren stood up on stage and played their hearts out. Some of them, I’m sure, nervous and worried about how they might do.
And that’s what really bugs me. At the core, manners are about respect, and about making others more comfortable in any situation.
So what if we weren’t sitting there listening to Susan Boyle. Because, you know what? I don’t know her. I know my kid. And I love my kid. And I wanted her to feel great up there.
Of course, the other parents in that room love their kids, too, and wanted them to do well.
It’s just too bad that so many of them couldn’t show a little bit of respect for their own children – never mind showing a little respect for my daughter, and for all the others.
And never mind setting an example for them.