I was attempting a quiet breakfast while preparing for a full day of meetings on a recent business trip. In the hotel breakfast area, a dad was checking his mobile device while his two boys ran back and forth to the waffle maker spilling batter on the floor and pouring syrup into the hot griddle just to watch it sizzle and smoke.
A moment later they were grabbing cereal with their hands and screaming at each other. The dad looked up, momentarily annoyed, but did nothing. The other guests were aggravated too, but these days everyone is afraid to confront or say anything for fear of backlash.
A serving spoon hit the floor, flinging scrambled eggs across the floor. Shaking their heads, an elderly couple decided to leave without finishing their meal. The front desk staff walked over and smiled at the boys gently asking them to have a seat.
"You're not my Mommy" one brat protested, turning his back on her.
The woman and I glanced at one another as my mouth dropped.
I looked at the father, expecting his intervention. He was still "busy."
As the smaller child reached for another handful of cereal. I grabbed his arm and stopped him. "Oops, let me help you young man. You seem to have jelly on your hands. Would you like a bowl for cereal?"
He nodded and smiled. "Okay, go have a seat with your father and I'll bring it to you."
The woman rolled her eyes, thanked me and walked back to the front desk.
I took the bowl of Fruit Loops over to the table and the dad looked at me confused.
"I thought I'd help your son with this. He was making a mess and you looked distracted. Happy to help." I smiled.
The dad mumbled something that might have been a "thank you" but I'm still not quite sure. It might have been "I didn't ask for help." Either way, I decided to say "Your welcome" as I turned to finish getting my own breakfast.
That was it. The chaos had ended and the hyper little boy settled down to eat.
I'm not telling this story to bring attention to how wonderful I am by intervening. Forgive me if it sounds this way. I just thought it was a typical story I see all the time. In stores, in libraries, in museums.
Dad's there's a time and place for allowing your kids to run off energy and be rowdy...it's called parks and playgrounds or your own backyard. Even then, we dads need to pay attention and engage in our child's world.
To the man at the hotel. Im not sure what your story is. I want to think the best. Perhaps you were taking care of an emergency or the death of loved one. Maybe you won "Dad of the Year" last June. Whatever your story, please make a small effort (that's all it takes at times) to control your kids and take responsibility as a parent. It's dads like you who make us all look like self-absorbed idiots.
Okay Im done.