NANCY FITZPATRICK’s QUERY ON HOW TO DEAL WITH OUT-OF-CONTROL LITTLE BRATS SETS OFF GREAT DEBATE ON PARENTING
BY DAN VALENTI
One of The Planet’s favorite venues is the Red Lion Inn. It’s a place of history that keeps on top of today. The Inn presents the solidity of tradition with the excitement of discovery. The Inn stands as a living, vibrant symbol to a time, not long ago in America, when parents accepted their responsibilities to raise their children with values within the accepted norms of society’s conventions. The Inn occupies one of the most famous corners on earth, made that way by Rockwell’s memorable painting of downtown Stockbridge in 1957.
Stockbridge: Comfortable with Who and What It Is
People come to Stockbridge from all over the world. The town has no traffic lights, no fast food restaurants, and no neon. It’s a town that has healthy measure of itself. Stockbridge finds comfort in its own skin, and people who visit there absorb by osmosis the feelings of security and comfort. In Stockbridge, the world slows down. You’ll have trouble with your (not so) Smart Phone, maybe, but your psyche will be ravished for it.
Stockbridge didn’t destroy much of its past, the way Pittsfield did. It didn’t sell out to commercialization, the way Lenox did. To get Tennysonesque on you, Stockbridge is still a place where flowers ripen in place — ripen and fade, ripen and fade — without toil, fast-rooted in fruitful soil. The architectural heart and soul of Stockbridge is the Red Lion Inn.
Parents with Children Take Note: This is An Adult Town
The Inn is, primarily, an adult venue. It should have cause to assume, and the right to insist, that adults who bring children with them have given the kids their lessons. In Stockbridge, children must “raise their game,” within reasonable limits, of course. It may be the last place on earth, soon, where adults are expected to lower theirs in appeasement to The Child Dictator.
Recently Nancy Fitzpatrick, the Inn’s owner, posed this question on her Facebook page: “Advice please. If your child is behaving in an unacceptable way in a place like The Red Lion Inn, how should the management address it?”
The existence of her great and reasonable (though sadly necessary) question provides another shred of evidence of a society in the throes of madness: of a set of younger adults who do not know how to handle their adult responsibilities. They are the “my children are my trophies” moms and dads, and they are The Planet’s targets. Moms and dad who do the right thing, who raise their children properly, will love these remarks, since — while they are not outnumbered and in fact represent the solid majority — they consistently find themselves out-shouted and out-litigated by the deadbeats.
‘Enough, already: Parents, Get the Brats Under Control of Leave!”
Nancy’s prompt set off an avalanche of responses, most basically saying: “Enough, already, parents. Let your little monsters know that when they are in an adult place, with higher standards, they have to behave with respect and with self-control. Period. Peer Ree Ud.”
The Planet became an eager participant in the discussion, which, in the end, became moderated by Simon, the saint of a house cat at the Inn. Here are a few samplings of what we said (keep in mind that these are responses to previous posters):
Our Facebook Missives
* “How about keep the dining room off limits to families with kids? The RLI, which we love and frequent OFTEN, should be for adults, by adults, and of adults when it comes to the formal dining room during the evening.”
* “[We] Love the ‘old school’ waitresses, too. And I’m raising my glass at this very moment to more disciplining. Love Betsy Berg Myers take, above. [go to Nancy’s FB page to read Betsy’s post]. Someone’s got to tell the little monsters that they are not the center of the universe.”
* “We ate in the dining room Sunday night. Nice quiet table in the corner, in the front section of the room. The back section, past the dividers, was for families. They were traipsing in, kids in tow, with the kids loud and out of control. My guest said, “I thought this was a place for adults”? [Out-of-control children represent] a serious issue, and it falls back on the parents who have let their ‘chitlins’ do whatever they want, irrespective of the setting or circumstances.”
* “We might ask, why aren’t families dining together at home, but that too is off topic. So targeting in, the question isn’t to show “respect, tolerance, and assistance,” since that implies people — who expect a certain standard of behavior at a high-end, adult venue such as the formal dining room, Red Lion Inn, in the evening — do not have such for children. Don’t blame us, man. Blame the parents who have told their kids they are all great, all geniuses, and that they can act like little monsters. Out-of-control doesn’t describe a kid in the magic uniqueness that is childhood. It described a kid who needs a good swat on the butt. Don’t be their “friends.” Be their PARENTS.”
* Sally [a former waitress at the Red Lion Inn], having worked at the RLI, can testify that of late [last couple of years], there has been a marked increase, dramatic in some ways, in the inability of children to behave respectfully in public. The formal dining room at the RLI isn’t Chuck E. Cheese. What is acceptable at the latter SHOULD NOT BE and NEVER BE at the former. @John L: You are quick to brand common sense as “reactionary” and acceptable discipline (e.g., a firm but harmless tap on the butt when required [not willy-nilly]) “physical violence.” You brand those who expect more from a place like the RLI as lacking empathy to parents and anti-kids. You are wrong on all accounts, and it’s obvious that the methods you advocate do not work, or my good friend Nancy and the lovely folks at the RLI wouldn’t have this problem in the first place. I am a frequent flyer at the inn (dining room, tavern, and den), and dread this vacation week because there are too many parents who want the world to revolve around their spoiled brats. Children and adults are not equal. There must be discrimination. The “everything goes” parents who are afraid of the responsibilities and want to be “friends” with the six year olds” have made these terms incendiary. Too bad, but when adults are spending good money to enjoy a place like the RLI, we don’t want to deal with Playland at McDonalds.”
There you have it. The majority of us want to have the Red Lion Inn, and similar venues, free from the Chuck E. Cheese Effect. If children can’t adjust their behaviors, then they shouldn’t be allowed in the in the dining room, tavern, or den.
What do you think, folks? Tell us why we are right or wrong. … or … Can you (and dare you try to) defend the indefensible?
That’s all, folks. Remember, tomorrow is Sunday, The Planet’s day of rest. New content on Monday. LOVE TO ALL!