Taking our four kids to the movies is a complete and highly logistical challenge that takes two days in advance to organise... Not really but forward planning does help. Normally it would cost $120 for the six of us and our two nephews to attend the movies. Thanks to Event Cinemas ] though, we won free tickets. this meant I could put the successful bidder on eBay for my left kidney on hold and keep my first born for a little longer. Then comes the popcorn and drinks and lets face it without this extravagant and extortionate form of deliciousness, there is the potential my children would lose interest in the movie before it even started... Spend more on the extras or potentially have an interrupted $120 movie.. Well played cinemas, well played.
Throughout my childhood my three siblings and I were forced to go to the movies with either nothing or a packed lunch of wholemeal sandwiches, unsalted home popped popcorn and fruit. I swore I would never subject my children to the misery of having to smell other peoples popcorn and watching their happiness when they licked their buttery fingers........I just thought my parents loved to torture us and ruin our happiness, but in reality they probably couldn't have afforded to take us to the movies if they had to buy our snacks too.
At the risk of my picture being posted on the Most Wanted list at the local cinemas to check my bags upon entry, I will share how the preparation went. Whilst grinning to myself and making a mental note to let my Mum and Dad know later that I get it now, I too made this "Pop-ed-corn" (Megamind, 2010) as its affectionately known in our home. I dished out left over Easter eggs, a packet of snakes that I thankfully had in the cupboard and a bag of Minties that were probably way past their "Best Before" date, into separate snap lock bags. Each child was issued an ice cold $1 bottle of water, (Thank you Woolies) and we were set.. The normal routine is to bring said water bottles, buy a couple of the largest combos and ask for a few extra cups to divide the popcorn amongst the kids... That works well also!
We settled down in the theatre, and the kids were excited and completely content with their own little bags of goodies. As the lights dimmed, the previews concluded and the curtains parted we were more than aware of the noise coming from behind us that on the "Irritating Scale", fell just short of finger nails running down a chalk board. The family behind us were comfortably sprawled out whilst their kids lent over the chairs right above our heads and proceeded to slurp loudly on their frozen drinks, that horrid loud noise when its near the end of the drink... Except their cups were still full! My husband and I looked at each other and with a knowing look wondered how long it was going to last. Without a word, we took turns in doing "the turn and the look", its about all we had. When it was halfway through the movie, and this plan hadn't had an affect, I'd had enough. On the odd occasion that I get the kids a frozen drink and they start slurping, I am quick to take the drink, swirl it around and hand it back so as not to disturb other people trying to watch the movie. Except on this occasion, the parents were in cahoots with the kids!
I actually don't understand how parents can think that is acceptable. It seems no one has respect for other people any more and I'm sorry but I didn't just fork out $120 to listen to you slurp your drink for two hours. I absolutely loathe confrontation, but this was going to be my moment, my moment when I would stand up, politely ask them to sip their drinks quietly and the rest of the cinema would give me a standing ovation and cheer my praises. So I stood, I turned and at exactly this moment the mother and child got up to leave for the toilet.
"Damn", I thought, "I was so going to do it that time".
I decided to wait and dish out my moral stance when they returned. So, I turned around to sit back down and went crashing to the floor in a mess. Little did I know that the chairs flip back up when you stand. I looked up at my husband, paused and we completely pissed ourselves laughing. I saw that as karma and decided today wasn't the day to take a moral stance and to just shut up and get on with enjoying the movie.
It got me to thinking though, my husband and I try to raise our kids with good morals and principles. The old, "treat others the way you wish to be treated'. We drum into them whenever we see the opportunity that they must have respect for their own things, other peoples things and they must always have kindness, respect and consideration for other people.
This family at the movies though, didn't care about what anyone else thought or how their actions were affecting the people around them, they went and did what they wanted and had a great time doing it.
Is there a balance that needs to be had here? I'm forever wondering if what I'm doing with my kids is annoying anyone else, whether or not my kids are being too noisy for other people.
In a world where we are trying to teach our kids to always help others, consider others, be empathetic, kind and respectful; it does seem sometimes the people that do and say whatever it takes to get what they want, step on anyone in their way and throw people under the proverbial bus for their own gain or to save face, seem to get exactly what they want, when they want it.
Am I setting the kids up to fail; to be taken advantage of? I like to think the balance is still in our favour...
"Don't walk side by side in case other people need to get past"
"Don't be too noisy in the doctors surgery in case you annoy other people"
"Don't pick your nose in public, be discreet in case it grosses other people out; oh wait it grosses me out.
I strongly believe having respect for others is important but do i take it too far? To the point I just stress out about other people when we leave the house?
Maybe I should just say "Hey you know what, go ahead and pick your nose, get right up there, just have enough respect of others to not wipe it on someone else, someone's things or the really expensive Mercedes that we just walked past."