When traveling with a young family, or when out and about with a young family, in a public space, there is a single sentence that all parents dread:
'Please Can You Keep It Down'
It is the type of statement that makes some people blush with embarrassment, and others brim with hostility.
I fall into the camp of brimming with hostility.
While there is without a doubt, certain occasions or locations whereby a screaming child should be removed and the parents be suitably apologetic to all around them (funerals, the movies, the theatre, a monastery perhaps) there are plenty of places where loud children should be simply accepted.
Alas, despite all adults having been a child, at some point in their lives, there is a certain type of adult that finds the very idea of hearing children within their vicinity abhorrent.
These people are almost always awful, and tend to exist within society in a permanent sense of passive aggression. I have chosen to the name this type of person as being from the "tribe of the entitled and isolated."
Just after my middle child had turned 2 years old, we flew from Singapore to London for Christmas. This flight is full to the brim with families heading home for the festive season, and as anybody that has flown long haul with a child will know; the journey is brutal from start to finish.
As we started our descent into Heathrow, my daughter found the change in cabin pressure difficult to deal with and started to cry and wail, loudly. Rather than demonstrate, even a drop of empathy, a lady behind us asked my wife to keep the wails of our child down.
Fortunately, as we were flying with Singapore Airlines, an airline that allows passengers to opt for "Suites", if they do not wish to suffer the indignation of sharing cabin space with others. I suggested that she not be such a cheap skate and pay to fly in a Suite next time, if she finds the understandable distress of a young child an inconvenience.
As ever, this comment was met with silence and indignation.
Thankfully as a parent, this type of person is fairly rare. That said, another person from this "tribe of the entitled and isolated" reared their ugly head yesterday.
My three children were playing with great delight around the hotel pool; a perfectly normal sound when on holiday. This resort even goes to the lengths of having an adults only pool area for those that wish to spend their pool time without children. Despite this fact, a lady took it upon herself to ask my kids to keep it down as she was reading.
What is wrong with these people? Surely if you look up a definition of the term, "Killjoy", in the dictionary, asking children to play less loudly in a family resort is the definitive definition.
What type of person tells children to stop having fun on holiday?
In an attempt to avoid this type of person, over the years, I have spent time compiling the similarities that these people tend to share:
- They most likely live in urban areas
- They will most likely identify themselves as middle or upper middle class
- They will most likely view themselves as liberal
- They will most likely be Western
- They will most likely be a Woman
- They will most likely have a miserable looking Partner
So, if you ever find yourself in a contained space with such a person; tread with care and don't be surprised if they ask your children to either stop crying or having a good time.
Please fee free to share and warn others.