Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kid-Free? Finally!

It’s an idea that is long overdue.

The Sushi Bar, a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, has declared itself kid-free, advising potential patrons that no one under the age of eighteen will be permitted to dine.

And I say hallelujah.

But judging from the torrent of outrage, you’d think the government announced it was going to begin confiscating personal property.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a kid hater.

But in the overheated, finger-pointing hysteria that passes for civilization here in the United States (and perhaps where you live as well), children have attained an almost god-like status.

And those who don’t buy into the idea that everything must be sacrificed for their benefit all the time are regarded with suspicion. It’s kind of like being a Communist in the McCarthy era.

I ask you: what’s wrong with the idea of kid-free? Is there something intrinsically evil about the concept of stores or restaurants free of hyperactive/tired/poorly-behaved children and their inattentive and exhausted parents?

Not a thing.

Everyone—childless or not—can cite an experience impacted by a child shoehorned into a setting in which it didn’t belong. Concert halls. Weddings. Slow-food restaurants. Movie theaters. And those are just the beginning.

All, with the occasional exception of a movie theater, are kid-inappropriate.

Whatever presumed selfishness I possess by remaining childless is dwarfed by parents who seem to feel that if they must suffer their children’s tantrums, then by god you shall, too.

There are always plenty of excuses: babysitters are child-molesters, I can’t find one, I can’t afford one, I don't have time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The currently-embraced psychological fashion says that everything is a choice. And there isn’t an option—Cosmopolitan magazine to the contrary—that allows you to have it all.

Having kids means you might have to sacrifice a visit to the symphony to hear Bach’s Violin Concerto in E major when a sitter can’t be found. Just as not having kids means you’ll have to do without the joy found in a child’s first words.

No one gets everything all the time.

An old expression says crying children are like good intentions—they should be carried out.

With parents who understand where children do—and don’t—belong, and without kids forced to endure events which hold absolutely no interest for them, we might find the market for kid-free zones diminished. If not eliminated entirely.