Holiday Manners At On-Base Events

Why didn't you tell me that proper etiquette and common courtesy did not apply while attending performances on base?

I recently took my mother-in-law and nine- year old to see, "The Christmas Carol" performed by students from East Carolina University at our base theater.  The doors opened at 2 p.m. and the performance started one hour later. In all honesty, we were out by 4 p.m.

In my opinion, it was just right. The performers did an excellent job and the story did not seem rushed. Even better, these college kids did this for FREE, yes FREE! All of that practice and hard work to come to a military base on a weekend. It was a wonderful thing that they did, I was very grateful.

However, as they were performing, I was embarrassed and annoyed. How dare these other parents allow their children to run up and down the aisle, bounce on chairs, and use "outdoor voices" during a live performance?

Furthermore, how dare these parents with babies bring them to a loud performance and then continue to stay in the theater while the baby was screaming? Not only was this rude to everyone that worked to put this play on for us, but it was rude to everyone in the audience as well.

Now, before you think that I have well-behaved children (laughing hysterically here) let me tell you, I do not! There have been plenty of times that I have had to remove them from a public situation to save my sanity and their lives (just kidding about that part but it seemed like it at the time.)

Plenty of times we have had plans to attend an event and then based on their behavior at home we have not gone.  We knew it would just be a disaster.

In addition to my nine-year-old,  I also have a toddler. As you read above, I did not take her with me to the play. This was for the sake of myself and for the sake of everyone else.

I also know that children will not learn how to behave in a public setting if they are never put into one. That's where the parents need to be stepping in, teaching them to sit down and be quiet.  If the child can't be quiet, then remove them from the performance (you know, that thing called consequences).

Better yet, if your child is not old enough or if you are not able to handle them -- dare I say it? -- Do not come to the performance and let everyone else enjoy the show.

Jessica Gardner is a Marine wife currently residing in New Bern, NC.  She told us, "My husband call's me a, "control freak" where as I prefer to use the term, "control enthusiast." There I go again, trying to control how he describes me! I'm a very proud Marine Corps wife with a love/hate relationship regarding the Marine Corps. I am also blessed to be the mom to two girl's ages 9 and 3 who I love dearly. 

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