Observations by Mary E. Latela, January 6, 2017
“Children should be seen and not heard.” If we shared this with our own kids or gkids, they would roll over laughing. “That’s silly!”
Of course, that directive was part of the “law and order” mentality of raising children for many generations. Along with being silent, we night add, not spilling, not dropping a fork on the highly polished floor in grandmother’s great room, and definitely not toppling the chair and its associated cushion.
Since I am still so focused on encouraging people to speak up – respectfully – I love the multi-tonal medley of voices at happy family gatherings. In case you are ready to say, “Wait. We have more serious things to talk about,” I would stop you. “Please tell me what you wish to discuss.” The top of the list – weather, politics, schools, price of green beans, genetically modified food – lop them off. Who really cares, and haven’t we exhausted the weather and politics issues unto infinity?
What do we expect of children in the company of adults? I love to walk through the empty church after a service, picking up a bulletin, left her, some cheerios on the rug, a half colored in picture of Jesus. People were here! They brought their children, along with a few things to keep them busy. In the most difficult situations, such as a bumped elbow, one of the parents quickly lifted the bumped child and dashed to the vestibule before wailing began..
We were not a perfect family. Confidentially, we kids would try to guess which of us would spill the grape soda on the crisp linen tablecloth. Coming soon …. the move to the grownup table.