Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I will be the first to tell you that I don't know everything about parenting. I think it is a learn as you go process.  Sometimes I come off like I know it all, but I think that is because I have four kids that have given me some experience.

So yesterday, I had three customers. Two out of three bought an instrument. That's nice, you say two out of three ain't bad (there's a song here.) and I agree with you, this December has been going very well (I just sold $120 of stuff today and it isn't even noon.) These parents were all really, really picky. and grumpy. I could tell if it was the holidays, or not enough sleep or what. The one parent told me that the used baritone that I was showing her looked as if  I just picked it right out of the dumpster and tried to sell it to me. I wasn't too offended, I knew what kind of customer I was dealing with going in. both parents that were very critical of my instruments had one underlying attitude. They both expected perfection when for their children. They both said almost the exact same thing.  "I want my children to have the best, because I didn't have anything growing up, so I am going to give my kids the best there is, etc"  I don't know if these two examples are the predominant schools of thought when it comes to parenting, but it does represent our culture today. Most believe the advertising they see and hear on the TV that translated into the thought process that we deserve everything we want and need it right now. Forget delayed gratification, working hard for what you have and appreciating it. 

Another family came in to the store and when I asked them how I could help them, both parents deferred to the teenager. I looked at her and asked her what I could do, she looked at me then took out her blackberry and texted (is that a word now?) someone. I just stared at her in disbelief, not saying anything. She then looked up at me and shrugged her shoulders. I tried to clarify what clarinet she was looking for. Both parents again deferred to her. I asked her another question about what clarinet she wanted, and she again did not look up, grabbed her blackberry (and why does this 15 year old have a crackberry anyway?) and again texted someone. After this, I inhaled to tell her to put that thing away or I am going to ask her to leave, because at this point I was getting nowhere with these three. The dad beat me to it and told her to put that thing away and talk to me. After about 15 minutes I finally got her to the one she wanted and then she decided she wanted a saxophone. I asked her what sax does she play now? She replied, "I don't even know how to play the sax, I just want one." I almost threw the sax at her. I sold her a clarinet, after which I learned that she was not with her parents at all they were her grand parents they looked like they 40. I couldn't tell.

Maybe I'm grumpy. But I think kids don't need the best things. Kids need to learn about real life. Right? Isn't it our job as parents to teach kids to become responsible adults by the time they are adults? Isn't teaching them to work hard for the things they have better than giving them everything they want? 

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