Engaging Culture

Control Your &^$%# Kids!

OK – I’m a big believer in “niche” media, and this blog post doesn’t fit my niche subjects of faith, culture, and media. But I have to say something here or I’m going to shoot somebody.  Is there a general rise in rowdy kids and stupid parents or am I nuts?  The truth is, kids are kids, and I rarely have an issue with them.  Kathleen and I raised two daughters so I understand how kids need space.  But what’s been driving me nuts of late is the number of parents that don’t
take this into consideration or don’t care – or both.  Kathleen and I flew Bailey and Kelsey all over the world when they were small, but we always brought a big bag of stuff to keep them occupied – crayons, coloring books, dolls, games – whatever.  But I’m shocked at the number of parents that take really small kids on plane flights without one single thing to keep them occupied.  One frustrated kid recently was so bored he screamed the entire way from Dallas to Burbank and although it drove everyone on the plane nuts, I couldn’t blame him.

We sat next to a mentally vacant dad last Sunday at church who brought his pre-school kid into the service with nothing for him to do.  The kid climbed on the pews, got into ladies hair, pulled stuff out of other people’s purses – just drove everyone crazy.  The dad just sat there like a dolt as if nothing was wrong.  No discipline, no toys, no nothing.   A bigger question was why this kid wasn’t in the kid’s program.

My bottom line is – parents – bring stuff!  Don’t leave home without it!  Don’t be so insensitive to the people around you on the plane, in the theater, or in church.

Our daughters are grown, but when we find ourselves on a plane with rowdy kids and stupid parents, Kathleen will magically pull something fascinating out of her purse, give it to the kid and he or she will immediately calm down.

Sometimes I think my wife is really an angel in disguise…


  1. I once heard Dr. Tony Evans say something like this… the reason we have a generation of messed up kids is because we have a generation of messed up parents… He said it about almost 20 years ago on the radio.

  2. Yeah… your kids were perfect angels 🙂

    But I have to say that if someone told me that my mom was Mary Poppins when I was little, I might have believed it! There’s something to say to the fact that Mary Poppins is the most famous nanny in the world- she had an endless bag of stuff!

    Being a babysitter in New York City has taught me a lot about how I’m going to raise my children. And you are totally right. It’s not just the fact that they need to be entertained or amused, it’s a responsibility of the parents to teach their kids the difference between what behavior is expected in different places. That’s why I say to kids "use your inside voices here" or "that’s an outside toy, we don’t play with that inside" or whatever. But some parents are just too lazy to teach them anything, it’s really sad.


    I was videotaping a preparing for college conference and one of the speakers was speaking on middle schoolers. The statement she made was profound. "If you want to be your child’s friend now you will be their enemy later, but if you are their parent now you will be their friend later."

  4. In writing about the importance of being an “adult,” when it comes to working with children, Caitlin Falanagan, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal said:
    “In my teaching days, no single document shaped my thinking as much as Flannery O’Connor’s 1963 essay called “Total Effect and the Eighth Grade.” It concerned neither guns nor violence, neither cliques nor experimental approaches to the treatment of adolescent depression. It was about . . . books. In defending the teaching of the great works of the Western canon rather than those of the modern day (which kids far preferred), she said something wise, the sort of thing an adult might say. She said that the whims and preferences of children should always, always be sublimated to the sense and judgment of their elders.

    “And what if the student finds this is not to his taste?” O’Connor asked. “Well that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.”

  5. About a generation back the seed of no bouderies, no limitations for our kids was embraced by parents. We are now seeing the fruit of that mindset.

    Anything that is not nurtured and guided with discipline, will eventually resent and turn on you.

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