As you already know, I'm an introvert. Which means, I avoid face-to-fact confrontations and conflicts. But which doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion.
I just need a safe place to give voice to that opinion. I know! How about this blog? No eye contact required.
Excuse me while I ascend my soapbox for a moment.
I participate in a little once-a-week music class with my boys. It's super fun. Each mom has a turn to plan and carry it out. We sing old favorites. We learn new tunes. We dance around the room and play instruments.
And we talk.
Picture this: the moms are seated in a circle with their kids. The mom in charge is at the front of the room demonstrating the actions to a new song. But no one can hear her because of all the moms who are yakking it up. They are pretending to participate (they're sitting on the floor, after all), but really, they're catching up on the latest gossip and sharing their most recent parenting woes.
This bothers me on so many different levels:
First, and most basic, I can't hear what the instructor is saying. Nor can my children. But now I know that Baby Johnny is teething.
Second, it is rude to the mom in charge. It is hard enough to corral a rowdy bunch of two- and three-year-olds without having to calm the mothers down as well. It puts her in an awkward position: should she ask the moms to quiet down? But they're her friends. Plus, she might be doing the same kind of talking next week.
Third, I've noticed that the louder the moms are, the more the kids feel at liberty to disengage themselves. They are off climbing the chairs or hiding behind the chalkboard. The moms create a din, and it makes it difficult for everyone else to focus.
Fourth, we expect our kids to be still and quiet when we take them to adult events (church or wedding receptions or funerals), but we think we don't have to be still and quiet at their activities. We are setting a very poor example, and they are paying attention to it.
I'm not just ranting against other people. I'm ranting against myself, too. I know I've been guilty of talking during activities like these. The fact is, I like to talk; I like to catch up; I like to have a sympathetic ear.
But lately, I've been making a conscious effort to zip my lips when it's someone else's turn to talk. I can do my talking before or after but not during. I want my boys to listen and be respectful. I'm raising the bar for them, and I'm going to hold myself to it as well.
If you think this doesn't apply to you, the next time you're with your kids at storytime at the library (because it happens there, too), pay attention to what you're doing. It is so easy to fall into the talking trap. And while you might not realize your mouth is moving, everyone else around you does.
Descending soapbox. Thank you for listening.