Teachable moments with our kids seem to present themselves in the ordinary, but how often do we choose to stop and take advantage of these moments in the middle of an extraordinary event? I decided, quite accidentally, to capture one such moment in the middle of a concert with my daughter Julia, not long ago.
My girlfriend Margot and I were excited to treat our teenage girls to a concert with a group of their close friends. We had pit tickets for all of us, which meant we could dance and sing along freely, getting lost in the music. Everyone on the floor was planning to enjoy the concert in much the same way. Or so we thought.
Margot and I decided to order a glass of wine just before the opening band donned the stage. We each ordered one glass and agreed that just one would be enough to last through the evening.
Being the only two adults with a group of young people, we knew it was our job to not only keep an eye on them and keep them safe, but model responsibility.
After purchasing our drinks and a few bottles of water, we headed back towards our group of kids. We had left them with specific instructions to stay together and to make sure they watched out for each other. What we didn’t realize is that the pit would fill with people pretty quickly once the music began. After searching unsuccessfully for what seemed like way too long, two young ladies motioned us over to them as they hovered above our children, protectively. We politely pushed our way through the crowd to return to them, thanking our angels profusely.
Our new friends relayed to Margot and me that the women next to us had been yelling profanities at our kids just as we spotted them and they moved to make room for us. As we glanced around, Julia nodded her head towards two young women with large blended drinks in their hands, making obscene gestures at us.
We watched in shock as they pushed their way past us, shoving us and stepping on us, to get in front of us and closer to the stage. A muscular man behind us got their attention by yelling at them to watch out for the kids. This only infuriated both women and one began shoving him, yelling in his face and spilling her drink down his chest. This poor man restrained himself, trying to ignore her, as I went in to full mama bear mode to shield Julia and her friends, and Margot hurried off to get security.
The kids, having seen everything that happened, began commenting on how sad it was that these women were so drunk they couldn’t even enjoy the concert, but had to cause trouble.
And, here it was, our teachable moment…
Margot and I, with our glasses of wine in hand, explained to the kids over the music of the concert, that we all have choices to make. We mentioned that while we had decided to have a drink that night, we knew our limits and what was required of us as charge over their group of friends. We went on to confirm that we didn’t believe drinking to be inherently bad and that we had chosen to drink responsibly, while those women making a scene did not choose wisely. Most likely, they would regret their decision in the morning, not only due to the way they were feeling, but because they had wasted good money on a great concert they most likely won’t even remember.
Our girls and their friends all commented about how they knew we were doing it right and those women just looked foolish. They thanked us for being good moms and we ended the conversation when Julia stated she wanted to be like us, and not those other women when she grew up, with all of her friends nodding in agreement.
This conversation lasted all of maybe two whole minutes. It was loud. It was crowded. But, we had the attention of eight teenagers that night and they will not likely forget these moments.
As parents, we try to model the best behavior for our children. Among many other things, we desire to teach them to be patient, kind, loving, honest, and responsible. Hopefully we do this not only through our words, but by our actions, as well. We want our children to be the best version of ourselves. Let’s teach them by example. And, yes, this is possible even with a glass of wine in our hands.
Christine is married to her best friend, Ray, and together they have seven very active children, ages 5 to 15. She’s a busy mama, spending most of her days running after her tribe in the Austin, TX area. She is the proud owner and author of the Parenting Blog, From Dates to Diapers, where she shares about life with little ones, offers advice and encouragement, and writes her thoughts and opinions on some of the greatest products on the market – those that make family life FUN.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) or any Responsibility.org member.*