Why this is my favorite photo from this weekend’s homeschool conference.
This weekend I attended the 2013 THSC Southwest Convention and Family Conference with Jeff, Emelie and Meredith (Kenny chose to stay with my parents.). Initially, I was not as excited about the line-up of Keynote Speakers compared to past years. With the convention over, I have to say the workshops I attended this year were the most valuable sessions I have attended in the last three years.
By contrast, the number of parents who refused to remove their disruptive babies or toddlers from the workshops was on the rise. Which is why the photo above, snapped in the walkway as I was leaving one workshop for another, is my personal favorite photo I took at the convention.
To me, this photo is indicative of love. It shows a father’s precious love for his child. It shows a husband’s love and respect for his wife (as I imagine he either left a workshop, or stayed outside of a workshop with his son so his wife could attend). Finally, it demonstrates a love and respect for others; he did not want to disrupt a workshop full of other homeschooling parents who were there to listen.
At the start of most of the workshops, a THSC representative introduced the speaker, asked everyone to turn-off or silence their cell phones, and requested that crying babies or children be removed so as not to distract others.
It seems logical that parents would also remove a baby giggling, gurgling or screaming in delight, a child talking loudly while playing a game on a parent’s iPad or tablet, or a toddler dropping food on the ground (over and over) and squealing to get down and retrieve it. And yet, despite the turns and “please take your child out” stares from other irritated attendees, many parents ignored their fellow homeschooling families, deciding they were the exception.
On the ride home, my aunt Paige came up with an excellent suggestion. Along with asking parents to take responsibility when their baby or toddler infringed on the rights of others, it could also be stated that, “In the event you do not recognize your baby or child is disrupting others, we may have someone tap you on the shoulder and ask you to step out with them.”
The convention did provide a nursery, but like many of these parents I probably would not have left my baby or toddler in the hands of people I did not know. That said, just as in church, Jeff and I would attend each workshop with a plan for who would leave if our child(ren) could not be quiet. We fully understand that we love and adore our children, but that does not give us the right to steal others’ opportunities to listen or participate in whatever venue we attend – whether a church service, a workshop at a conference, a movie, or a restaurant. This is the perfect opportunity to practice the basic principle of the Golden Rule – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” from Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31.
The THSC Southwest Convention and Family Conference is a family-friendly event; unfortunately, some families did not grasp that family-friendly extends beyond their own, to include all the families in the room who could not focus on the speaker(s) due to their child.