Monday, December 13, 2004

Teach Your Children Well

Some people just get it.

GramTuna had the gift. She could parent from afar. When we were young, we could be wrestling upstairs at the other end of the house. One What's Going On Up There? could stop up dead in our tracks. Add a Buster to that sentence, and we knew we were in deep trouble.

She could parent while talking on the phone. She had the finger-snap of death. One Thor-like thunder from her fingertips, and we knew we had better knock it off NOW, because sooner, rather than later, she would no longer be tethered to the phone.

I inherited the gift and crafted the look of death into a thing of beauty. It works at distances upwards of fifty feet away, and can stop talking, goofing around, and other errant church behaviors. I'm proud to say I also recently performed a perfect pointed cough of even though you're not looking at me, you had better stop it NOW. It worked so well, I almost cried.

But some people just don't get it.

I sat through a Teddy-Bear tea concert yesterday where I don't know who was worse -- the adults or the kids. Despite the request for no flash photography -- because it BLINDS people -- the kids were a-cheesing and the adults were a-snapping throughout the entire concert. How many pictures does one person need of Anabelle strangling her Teddy Bear? The answer was either 20 minutes, or until the camera runs out of film.

Satan's Table #28 quickly lost control during the concert. When the adults weren't taking pictures, they were ignoring the children, which didn't sit too well with the well-dressed monsters. So the kids started getting loud and fidgety. One genius adult decided the answer was to amuse their tot by playing "Got Your Bear!"

People -- "Keepaway" is not a quiet, calming activity.

So, while the choir is singing, the kid tries to rescue Teddy. He jumps. He grabs. "Got Your Bear!" says the adult. He giggles. "Got your bear!" says the adult again. He jumps and grabs an arm. They play tug of war. "Got your bear!" says the adult. He whines and then half-yells "Give me back my bear!" Which, mercifully, the adult finally did. Why? Because it was PICTURE TIME AGAIN.

Not to be outdone, another little girl in need of an anger-management class decided Teddy needed a little tough love. Grabbing it by a leg, she began by pounding it on her chair...and then on the table...and then on the toddler next to her...and then on the adult.

The call and response of this chain of events was several utterances of "Be nice to your bear" which was answered with a smile, a giggle, and a defiant "NO!" Maybe if the parenting was done in a tone of voice that implied something more serious than "Look, an apple" they might have had more success. The entire exchange had as much effect on the children as the request for no flash photography had on the adults: Zippo.

So where do you start? With the adults who can't manage to keep all their flashing, buzzing, beeping, ringing, vibrating toys at home? Or with the kids who have never been taught how to sit still and be quiet?

I think I can handle this in classic Tuna fashion:

Put the camera away or the bear gets it.



TV Junkie said...

The adults are absolutely the greater of two evils. The adults should know better. *shakes head* tisk-tisk-tisk

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add a Buster to the end of that!! hee

Gary said...

The kids will grow up to be just like the adults around them. What a happy future it will be!!! *sighs*

Anonymous said...

[gives Tuna a standing ovation]


Margaret said...

You start with the adults, because if the adults can not follow simple instructions, the children see this, and won't either.

My daughte is only 3, but I have perfected the 'point of death'. When she is misbehavin' I get her attention, then I just point at her. That usually stops her in her tracks.