Friday, 14 December 2012

Nativity: The mother and father of bad manners


Today was Boy Two's Christmas show and for another year the festive spirit was somewhat flattened by the rudeness of a few parents. 

At our primary the Christmas show takes place on three consecutive mornings to accommodate everyone. The format is fairly fixed. Nursery first for two songs, then a couple of numbers each from primaries four, five, six and seven with a little extra something from the choir or music group. 

The big finish is the nativity with primaries one, two and three providing the traditional cast of angels, sheep, kings and so on. Full spectrum of dressing gowns, tea-towels and tabards on show.

We all know we don't really have much interest in the bits that don't have our children in them, however cute and well-rehearsed they are. Harsh, but true. 

But what boils my blood every year is the sight of parents getting up and leaving the school hall as soon as their kids' bit is over. This causes a disturbance and means that later performing children are faced by empty seats. 

We're all busy and doing important jobs. Do you not think I haven't got a million better things to do than watch other people's kids fidgeting and lisping their way through We Wish You A Merry Christmas? 

However, I - and the other better-mannered parents - sit there til the end. We do it because it shows respect for the children and their hard work, the school, the other parents. 

How can we expect our offspring to learn about manners, respect and civic duty if they aren't surrounded by examples of it? It's a fairly important lesson that when you say you're going to do something you do it until the end.

You departing parents (and there were more dads who left than mums) must know that the rest of us all just as likely to be bored, fed up and numb of bum. We're sitting there thinking of the things we should be getting on with too, writing lists in our heads and itching to check our phones. 

So next year, for the sake of all our children (and my blood pressure) just sit still. It's an hour an a half out of your life once a year. 

That was the ninth Christmas show at our primary and, all things being equal, I'm likely to attend another eight before Boy Three graduates to secondary. This, if nothing else, qualifies me to pass judgement. 


11 comments:

  1. Quite right. It's so rude. I can't bear that.

    What also gets my goat is saving of seats. We used to have a clique of four (the Mega-Millionaire's wife, the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, the Social Climber and the Poor One with the bright daughter who did everyone else's babysitting.) First three would always send the latter as soon as doors opened, to reserve front row seats for everyone while all other parents jostled for seats. That was really annoying too.

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    1. That's very annoying. We arrived 15 minutes before curtain up and nearly every seat was taken. The four should just get there early like everyone else.

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  2. Totally agree. My daughter's primary school were more militant about it. They refused to let parents leave! Sadly, they weren't so militant about the length of their shows. Some years we sat there for 3.5 hours.

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    1. Wow. That is a bum number - ours are never longer than 1.5 hours fortunately.

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  3. Funny thing, we were talking about manners and/or appropriate behaviour just yesterday. At a graduation ceremony yesterday, as some of the graduates to be went on to the platform to receive their diploma and shake the hand of the Dean, there were wolf whistles and cat calls more appropriate, I would have thought, to a pop concert!! In the Cathedral on Wednesday before the Carol service started, there was a group of young people taking an early seat, and one of them was continually drinking from a bottle of coke. In the Telegraph today there is an article about a school where the older pupils have asked for lessons in how to behave so that they can acquit themselves properly at their prom dances. Any chance there a swing back to people thinking a little more of others and less of themselves - there are many areas where I think that would be welcome. Mxx

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    1. There's a balance to strike between being stuffy and respectful and I think things may have swung too far.

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  4. Similar thing at our 'Holiday' (god, I hate that word) shows this week - & they were only an hour long. If you really can't spare an hour, don't come. Or at the VERY least, sit at the back rather than right at the front. Rant over. (BTW - what's the panther of news' take on this one?)

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    1. Panther of News and I are in agreement!

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  5. I agree that it is frustrating, but even worse are the parents who decide to start talking to each other in the middle of a performance by a class that doesn't interest them.

    Our infant nativity had heir dress rehearsal in front of the rest of the school yesterday morning, then the performance for the parents in the afternoon. Right in the middle of the dress rehearsal, one of the P1 chorus of shepherds at the front projectile vomited! It was the talk of many a dinner table last night!

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    1. Well at least a barfing shepherd would have livened things up a bit!

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  6. No way! How totally, totally rude - really felt for the children - what must it have been like for them to see parents get up and walk out!

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