I recently returned from nine days at Disney World in Orlando. My wife, ten year old son, five year old daughter and I spent the Thanksgiving Holiday away from our large families for some Disney Magic. We had a wonderful time, but the experience left me wondering about others and what they are teaching their children.
I don’t know what kind of money people are making these days, but this trip to Disney was a big expense for our family. In fact we saved for two years to afford this vacation. We knew it would be crowded and prepared ourselves accordingly. Our state of mind allowed us to ignore the crowds and enjoy the moment. Nothing was going to break our Disney Zen.
Not so for the majority of people we saw at the parks. I couldn’t believe the miserable expressions on a large majority of people’s faces. You never would believe they were in the happiest place on earth. I think it was a case of most people not preparing for reality in their fantasy vacation.
The biggest question I came away with is, “What are people teaching their children?” I never saw so many tantrums and hissy fits from little princes and princesses. Worse was the parents trying to deal with these little brats.
I witnessed one ten-year old girl kicking and screaming as her father carried her out of one shop, promising her two dresses because the Belle dress wasn’t available in her size! This was a ten-year old! I wonder where she learned that behavior? My son just looked on in amazement at the sight.
I guess Disney is a place where you find out that you “reap what you sow”. Bad parenting habits are multiplied by long lines, sugar and too much excitement. If you’ve spent your life being a friend to your little princess, instead of a parent, you’ve gotten what you deserve!
We stayed inside the park and travelled on the Disney busses throughout the week. My heart swelled with pride as my ten-year old son stood up and offered a lady his seat. I was soon deflated when her 12-year-old son sat down and the lady didn’t say a word, just grabbed a strap and stood there!
My son was perplexed and the lady would have let her son stay seated unless I stepped in. She was actually annoyed with me that I asked her to either sit down herself or have her son give the seat back to my boy. She sat down without saying anything to her son.
My son was so confused. I had to explain to him that we live by a different code. We do the right thing as a matter of principle. We live by “the old code”, not the rudeness of the masses. I have been preaching this to him since he could speak and I was so proud of him on that evening.
I think it was Winston Churchill who said, “Sir, I will treat you like a gentleman. Not because you are one, but because I am.”
I wish more parents would do the same, but quite honestly, I was witness to more rude behavior than good manners. Even Disney Magic could not breach human behavior. How sad.