Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Emily Post and Crying Rooms

I promised a rant, a churlish screed. But if one waits long enough, these moments often pass. I had read a news article about long-dead etiquette queen Emily Post's institute naming the 10 most rude things people do to each other in today's society. Among them, rather high on the list, I believe, was parents who bring noisy children to restaurants. Not even sure if I have the phrasing right, as I tossed the paper and later couldn't find the article online.

Gimme' me a break, America. This isn't England--we like children in the USA. Or do we like them enough? To wit:

A young mother attending a local house of worship with her children had problems with the two-year-old, who was getting a little squirmy (through a half-hour-plus sermon, I believe). The toddler wasn't unusually distracting (not "on a tear" in tearoom, as Emily might have phrased it)--except to the "Perfect Father," of another family, who was sitting rather inconveniently behind the child. As the mother managed to intermittantly quiet the child through various tricks that mothers use, the Perfect Father could contain himself no longer. "Puh-leaze!!!" uttered he in a loud hiss to everybody in general. It was loud enough to prompt two rows of the congregation, previously focused on the service, to turn their heads around to see what was going on. The embarassed mother later said, "Maybe I should have asked him to pray for me." Oh, perhaps he was. One never knows.

My point is that society has lowered its tolerance for children being children. We drug them with ritalin in schools and expect to be packed off to "crying rooms" at the first or second or third misguided peep or word in church. Yes, parents should control children, guide them in right morals and manners, and make sure they don't put pussy in the well, but perfection in the social graces, as Emily knows, we hope more perfectly now, takes years of effort and practice. And while there may have been perfect children raised by perfect parents, instances of these are rather, uh, singular.


Blogger Harry said...

Good stuff, and it makes me laugh.

12/15/2004 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Good Post,Emily-wise.

12/15/2004 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

People also give in to their children too much...not only to the societal graces. My niece is spoiled rotten. I worry about the kind of adult she will become because her parents coddle her too much.

12/15/2004 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Or, should I say, a anti-Emily Post.

12/16/2004 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once had an Auntie Emily.

12/16/2004 01:33:00 PM  

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