Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A crying child

Along with Obama and health care, add another to hot-button topics for people in the Texas Panhandle: squawking babies. Southwest Airlines decision to boot off a young mother, formerly from Dumas, from a flight last week from Amarillo to Las Vegas has illicited more than 700 responses online -- and counting.

Few things try the patience of adults more than crying children in public. Not everything is black and white. I would have had to witness the incident before I sided with either the airline or the mother.

When a child is misbehaving in, say, a movie, I have to question why the child is there in the first place. Is it really necessary to bring him/her there? And, if so, take him to the lobby now. Same with other public places, like church. Take them to the nursery. A game is not quite as bad because that's a place where noise is acceptable.

I have to think an airline flight is not something a parent will take a 2-year-old on unless there is no choice. Here's the bottom line for me: Is the parent doing everything reasonable to get the child quiet, or is the parent just letting little Sally carry on with just a token effort to control her?

If it's the first, I still don't like the fact there's a squawking kid within earshot, but I can at least understand the situation and know the parent is trying his/her best to control it. Anyone who's been a parent with grown children surely remembers those days. It's those who blindly sit there that drove most over the edge.

I'll explore more of this in a Friday column.

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