Hubby and me were recently away on a mini-vacation and ended it with a lovely breakfast at a fancy hotel. The hotel was on a sprawling country estate and the dining room was a fancy-shmancy affair with white linen draped tablecloths, fine china and panoramic views of the countryside. (This is an actual photo of the dining room). The place just oozed old school sophistication - not a place any reasonable person would think to bring small children. However, because a major amusement park is located nearby, many hairbrained parents felt it was perfectly acceptable to take their children here for breakfast, instead of to the far more suitable local Denny's.
Upon arriving, the hostess escorted us to a table smack-dab between 2 young families, one of which had a toddler who was in the process of having a full-blown hissy fit; the other table with 3 young children who were climbing on the chairs like out-of-control apes. Realizing that this was going to make for a very unpleasant experience, I asked the hostess if she could please seat us away from the tables with small children. Well, you should have seen the look she gave me. It was a look of total incomprehension, as though I had asked her to board us onto a rocket ship in the center of the dining room and launch us into outer space. It took her about 10 seconds of looking at me blankly before she was able to comprehend my request, at which time she launched into a full-blown explanation of their seating procedures and how, in order to be fair to all the waitresses, they must seat their customers in certain sections, in the order in which the customers arrive.
I told her that is all well and good, but repeated our preference of not being seated near families with small children. I pointed to an empty table across the room that was a good distance away from the kinder-calamities and asked her if we could be seated there. After some more hemming and hawing, a consultation with the dining room manager, and making it obvious to us that we were really putting her out, she finally agreed to seat us there.
Of course it was only a matter of time before more families came into the dining room, filling the formerly-quiet tables around us. At one point during our meal, I looked around the dining room at the goings-on. One family had a child who was talking and singing at the TOP OF HER LUNGS. Not once did either parent instruct her to quiet down. She just kept on talking and singing to the annoyance of everyone except her parents.
At another nearby table with slightly older children, we watched as 2 of the children ran around their table playing tag while the oblivious parents ate their breakfast, never once even looking up from their plates to so much as visually acknowledge their ill behavior. Their third child, a boy who looked to be about 10 years old, had apparently gotten bored at the table, so he proceeded to perch himself upon one of the dining room's windowsills and played with his shoelaces, again, all within the sight of the parents and dining room staff and all without a single disciplinary comment from any of them.
Hubby and me just shook our heads and like two old farts, reminisced about our own upbringings and how in our day we would have never DREAMED of exhibiting such behavior because our parents would have immediately put a stop to it. We were well aware that there were certain behaviors that went along with dining out in restaurants and singing, playing tag and climbing on chairs and windowsills like monkeys was not among them.
This stuff may seem minor, but it truly makes us fear for our future. What is our world going to be like when the coddled products of these lazy, inconsiderate, oblivious and overly-permissive parents are running the world? The thought of this truly sends shivers of fear down our spines.