Should Kids Behave and Sit Still at Live Events?

We have a fun discussion for you today. We actually pulled a little prompt from Reddit which me and Jeremy enjoy from time to time. And actually for the couple, if you didn’t know that, there’s a little trivia because there’s some fun discussions there on what people like or what people are talking about. And one of them was on kids and teaching them to sit still at public events, live events performances. But Jeremy tell us a little bit more about what you think the bullseye of it is.

So when you think about little kids and a live events, a lot of people have one of three reactions. It seems like, one is you’ve totally avoid live events, right? Like, “these aren’t for kids, keep our kids away.” Certainly there are seasons where that’s probably a really good idea, right? A second way you do that is you actually attend the live event and so just let your kids be kids. And you’re like, “yep, see.”

Can you just keep your kids in the live event while they’re creating disruptions? Some people have the stomach for that, right? And then the third way is that you take your kids, but you really train them how to behave inside of a live event. And, so in this conversation, I’m just always fascinated by these conversations in the wild happening around parenting and kids.

And it was really interesting there was a lot of consensus, in this forum discussion, that parents need to train their kids how to sit well through live events at a young age. And I think that’s a really good idea and every single kid is different and we’re not… There’s no judgment or heaping like some kind of expectation that’s really tough for your particular situation.

The idea here is… I think it’s just a good idea to know that kids need to be trained, to sit through live events. And the reason why it’s so good is because it’s really important that you get all the enjoyment from those live events. We want kids to be with us. This is a huge part of what we’re really encourage you guys to be together as a family. But one of things that pulls families apart is when you can’t… When you have to get childcare for every single live event that you might want to attend, whether that’s at the church or something else.

And so, we always really tried to push into this as a family. We loved… We would go to concerts and bring all of our little toddlers and [inaudible 00:02:11] We would… There was a lot of training that we tried to do to help our kids learn how to be. Cause we just wanted them to be with us.

It wasn’t just like… And I think that a lot of times when this discussion really got interesting because what a lot of the people were getting really upset about what that second option, which was a lot of people… And I agree with this, if you just say, “well, kids will be kids.”

And I think this is a really common thing today, is that we’re like, “hey, if this is a kid-friendly event,” if we ever say “kid-friendly” at any live event, then what inevitably happens is that people come to the live event with their kids and then they allow their kids to get really crazy and chaotic and disruptive of the event.

And so, of course, then you have to stop saying it’s a kid friendly event. And that’s such an unfortunate problem because what I want to say is, “bring your kids, but not your chaos.” Like, “bring your trained kids or use this event to train your kids.”

Well, but there’s some line in our culture is really at a weird place where I think a lot of us we can’t quite figure out what that line is. And so I wanted to have this conversation a little bit. I know this can be a bit intense and I know there’s a lot of details to specific situations, but what are your thoughts about that Jeff?

Yeah. Well, I think there’s so many layers to this one and we think about it intentionally a couple different ways, but first I’ll say there’s this inherent belief again, that we’re always budding up against in culture that you shouldn’t have to train your kids. That just let kids be kids. That is such a bad corrosive idea.

So that’s the first thing is, don’t, that’s not true. They need to be trained. Maybe you don’t think they need to be trained at live events or maybe you don’t think they’re too… You think they’re too young. That’s fine. But I’m just saying, do you in general think they need to be trained? That’s like the kids be kids.

“Let kids be kids” does not mean let’s just have absolutely unruly hedonistic monsters, right? That’s not… That’s what people are saying when they say that. And that is like so detrimental to our society. When that’s the underlying tone of what people are saying, when they say, “let kids be kids,” that really bothers me.

So that’s the first thing, but I’ll say this is how we think about it intentionally. We have two kind of opposite poles that I think actually help us try to get into a really good space for this. The first one is we refuse to believe that like a kid can’t do that. That a toddler can’t do that and that they need to be entertained every two seconds or that they need to be okay, like yelling and screaming and dancing around.

And we have outgoing rambunctious Jefferson Bethke junior kids. Right? So we know this is difficult for us. I’ve seen kids where it’s like, “Oh man, they could have done this out of the womb easily.” Right? And it’s a little unfair but you get your lot. But so that’s our first one is you… I think parents need to actually expect more of their kids. That’s what I’m trying to say.

And we do. We just naturally there’s this imposing of not even having that conversation on that level, that at least for us has been helpful. We’re like, “Oh no, no, no. That’s ridiculous.” Like, “don’t do that here. That I know you don’t need to do that. You’re four, you’re five that’s unnecessary and you’re way beyond this.”

It’s kind of a weird way. It’s like reverse psychology or something, but it’s worked for us. Like, ” We expect way more of you than that. That’s just not okay.” Right? Cause I think we actually expect kids to be more crazy and ADHD and whatever.

So it’s like, “no, I know you can control yourself. I know you can be obedient, just do it.” I know that’s maybe not the ideal thing, but it’s worked for us. And I think that’s essentially what I’m saying is, expect more of your kids than you think they can actually give you. They are amazing and they’re blessings and they can be ridiculously obedient and focused and motivated for certain things.

So expect that. But then the second one too is I think specifically with church setting is people will for that first one, like for example, I think we love that because then, for example like you said, we want to be together. So we want to make that a high value, where we just expect them to be able to do it with training and teaching and focus, because we want to be together.

And like church worship is a huge one for us. Where, when we go to church, we don’t want to just split the minute we walk in the door and then just come back together the minute we leave. So, realistically, we worship together. We sit in there and a lot of times Kids will even want to hear a little bit of the sermon. They watched some of announcements and the dances and stuff like Hula dances.

And so that’s… Which I don’t know if every church has that, but we do.

We don’t do that here in Kentucky.

Yeah, exactly. But we love that. And so, realistically, when we take the kids to Sunday school, they almost… There’s been plenty of times when I take them to Sunday school and the check-in has already closed down. So we actually can’t go in because I take him so late and then I pick them up even early.

So they’re only there for like 20 minutes. But that’s because we want to be together. And that’s just the way we figured it out, where they also love Sunday school and they want to be in there, so that’s just how we do it. And so we want to be together. So to do that, we want to be in there.

Then the second thing I was going to say, which we can end on, is we also need to have the tension or the balance, I think especially in church, of not believing that kids don’t exist.


Right? I think that’s another tension that I think we want our worship experience to be so purified and aesthetically pleasing and so consumer oriented that we don’t realize we want it to serve us so much for 90 minutes that, “how dare a baby be crying?”


Right? Like, “how dare that actually be happening?” Like, “I paid for this? Well, no, I really didn’t, but it’s kind of like a movie theater. So I think I did.” Right?


And it’s a very similar setting. So, “I need to get my product and you’re disrupting my product.” That is a really bad spirit that I think is actually in a lot of churches. That like this is a fake environment. No, this is not a fake environment. This is a real environment with real life.

And it’s not… We treat it almost like the surgery room, right? Where you got all these different things and mechanisms of it’s so purified and perfect and there’s hope nothing wrong. And I was like, “no, that’s not what it is.” And so, that is another thing that I would actually encourage the adults. With them, we can end on that is. Make sure though, that you’re not believing that kids don’t exist.

And that there is a messiness at the level of children being trained in environments and around. And I think actually specifically in the church experience, that is actually the conviction and the goodness of God that he wants to give us. That there is laughter, there is joy, there is running around and the way that they enjoy the worship experience, is actually how all of us should be at some level.

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