Not Surprised

Unfortunately, I am never surprised at the ridiculously rude behavior at various programs and events in and around Muncie. I sometimes wonder if the inability to show others respect is actually a part of the core curriculum of our school system. 

In all honesty, I can’t blame the students for their poor behavior because it is all-too-obvious that it comes from the top-down. Grandparents passed it onto parents who, in turn, passed it on down to their children. 

This evening at Emily’s  spring program, I observed the following:

– Parents letting their children wander aimlessly through the gymnasium during the performance

– Parents and children standing right next to Emily as she directed, taking pictures, videos, and in some cases trying to talk to their child

– Parents answering phone calls and carrying on conversations while remaining seated. 

– Parents having loud conversations with other parents during the performance

At one point, the principal actually addressed the crowd. She asked, “Who came to see the kids perform? Isn’t that why we’re hear? So, let’s turn off the cell phones and pagers. Let’s stop talking. And, let’s listen.” 

It’s sad that it does not surprise me that this happened this evening. We are at a point in time in which many people simply don’t know how to behave in public. 

I wish this only happened at school programs. But, I see it everywhere…the grocery, the mall, Lowes, the movies…even the church. 

Generally, I want to lash out at these people and say, “If these people weren’t so stupid, maybe they’d understand how to behave.” I want to look at these people and say, “Listen idiots…look at the example you are setting for your children and grandchildren. Are you really all that surprised that you have problems with them?”

But, then, I realize that my thoughts are not filled with grace, mercy, compassion, or love. The truth is…many of these folks simply don’t know any better. No one ever set an example for them. No one ever gave them opportunities to learn many of the things I take for granted. 

Then, I find myself thinking…”At least they are here.” Some kids missed out on the experience because their parents were unwilling to show up. Some kids participate, but have no one special in the audience. And, so, I find just a glimmer of hope in the fact that these parents at least care enough to show up…to be there for their children. Showing up is sometimes the best thing parents can ever do for their children.

A friend shared this verse with me the other day…

…You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forvie the person who offends you…” (Colossians 3:12-13)