Granted, I know without question that my loving and capable wife could handle the situation wonderfully (she has time and again). Be that as it may though, there is the lingering subconscious issue of how others will see you. Not to mention the possibility you might frighten the children present who may not understand why a grown man suddenly is acting very strange.
For some time I tried to be there for everything I could before I started to realize the strain it was taking. There have been times I had to be escorted out or politely excuse myself to try to stubbornly try to hide my dilemma out of sight. Over time I have simply come to the conclusion that I must select my appearances carefully. So when my son was going to be graduating from Kindergarten after struggling with some issues of his own I decided it was a warranted visit.
Typically I try to stick to the smaller events that almost always guarantee a smaller crowd. When I considered my decision I failed to remember that this ceremony was not such an event. Specifically, if it means the use of the gym to accommodate the crowd I try to avoid it if possible. Call it sensory overload if you wish, but once I get into a large group of closely approximated people its murder on me.
But, I can safely attest that I was victorious in my visit. I managed to witness my son graduate, sing a few songs and basically be very proud of him. I should point out that one of the main songs they sang was one ‘The World’s Greatest’ by R. Kelly, which he really seemed to get into.
However, the whole experience wasn’t completely pleasant, and I’d like to point out something that particularly upset me. While I struggled in order to attend the program, I was utterly ashamed at some of the other self-proclaimed ‘adults.’ In order to maintain a safe environment for the children and a level of responsibility in the event of an emergency the school wisely limits entry to the building to a single point of entry. Upon entering the premises it is clearly noted that you are required to sign in and leave your I.D. This is not only a required safety measure it is a minor action that should be common sense to any self-respecting parent. We want our children safe and to know that if something bad did happen that at the very least a record exists to identify any visitors present.
Instead of bearing witness to such responsible behavior I had to set and continually remind myself to resist the urge to give my mouth any liberty. One such example was a grown man lamenting the need to sign in or leave his identification. This self-same individual went on to profess that he wondered if he should have surrendered his gun as well. Proclaiming that such practices meant that we were being treated like terrorists.
For starters common sense alone dictates that it is absolutely irresponsible to even consider taking a gun into a building full of children. I love guns, I own guns – but part of being a gun owner isn’t just the right to do so, it is the inherent responsibility it involves. While I have children and guns I have never left the two in close proximity. I cannot imagine the desire to take a loaded gun into a place packed with not just my own kids but others as well. But then again I am not a trained expert engaging in a duty to safeguard the lives of others either.
And yet, sitting only a few feet from me was an agitated man who was unabashedly claiming that he had a gun in a school full of kids to watch a kindergarten graduation. WHY? For what purpose would you possibly think to bring a loaded weapon into an event full of 6 year-old's? What could threaten you so much about listening to them sing and smile as they show how proud of themselves they are? And for that matter, even if you did do so; why in the world would you be ranting about it so everyone could hear?
This wasn’t the sole experience I had this morning that has bothered me all day either. It was but one, another example was being forced to listen to a man behind me lash out at a small child demanding to know ‘just what the #$!! is wrong with you?’ The child hadn’t even made a sound.
I am almost ashamed to call myself fellow parent alongside the likes of some these people. Whatever happened to acting with respect and decency in public? As an adult you are not only a role model for your own children but others as well. While watching my son sing his song I couldn’t agree more with the words; he was the world’s greatest in his behavior. He was polite, patient and respectful up there on the stage. I wish I could say the same for more of the audience, but then again perhaps it’s not that unusual. In any case I know that as my children get older I may have to check my impulsive ill-restrained mouth at the door along with my I.D.
I can only tolerate so much, and we were in a school after all. If we don’t behave ourselves then how can we ever expect our children to do so as they get older? I shudder to think what would happen to me even at my age if I behaved in such a manner in public if my wife or my parents found out. I would like to think that I was raised better than that…