Last night my husband and I had the opportunity to escape for quick, impromptu date night and go to the movies. Often not agreeing on movies, we settled on the new Quentin Tarantino film Django,Unchained. Generally I am a fan of Tarantino films although they tend to be over the top in their graphic goriness and bloodiness. This one was no exception. The subject matter was harsh, the language was explicit and the blood was flying. It is, in no doubt, and R rated film.
But the most horrifying moment of the night occurred before the film even started. It was an 8 o'clock film with a running time of two hours 45 minutes. After adding in previews a conservative estimate of ending time of the film would be about 11 PM (it was late for me to be out especially having worked all afternoon). Just moments before the start of the show, a couple came in and sat in the seats directly next to us. With their young child, approximately 18 months-old. Pat and I looked at each other as if to say, "Are they really doing this? Are they really here with their young child, at a film that is so very violent an inappropriate?" And the answer was yes.
There were so many things wrong with this scene. A child that age is really too young to be at the movies. The loudness in the theater is not good for developing ears, especially when you sit in the third row. Secondly, why is a child out that late? Young children need their sleep and routines and bedtimes. This child was awake for much of the film, and appeared to be looking at the screen for at least some of the film. Thirdly, the film was so very, very inappropriate for that child to be exposed to. Not only with the use of cursing and cussing (it is a Tarantino film, so there is gratuitous use of the F word), but with the subject matter of slavery, the use of the N word was very, very prevalent. Not the word that a young child needs to be hearing, or think is acceptable or funny (because the audience was laughing at times when it was used). I cannot even count how many people literally got their brains blown out during this film with massive blood spatters everywhere. We do not need to be exposing our children to this from the time they exit the womb. Perhaps it is exposure to this kind of violence that desensitizes them to it, making kids think that unabashed violence is acceptable with no real consequences.
When we choose to become parents, or for that matter engage in activities that may lead us to become parents, we need to realize that our own needs no longer come first. Being a parent is the most important task we will ever undertake. We are responsible for the creation and upbringing of a nether human being. We are responsible for the kind of person that child becomes. We are responsible for putting in the hard work and making the sacrifices in order to create another decent hard-working contributing member of society. If we were not responsible for this, human young would not need to stay with their parents.
Parenting is hard work. No doubt about it. For the mom, sacrifice begins with diet modification and lifestyle change when one is hoping to become or already has become pregnant. The sacrifice does not end when the birth occurs. It continues with sleepless nights, physical weariness, actual scars from childbirth, and a worry that surrounds your heart for as long as you have your child.
Sacrifice has its rewards. There is the unconditional love those bright brilliant eyes smiling at you at 6 AM in the morning. The hugs with the pat on the back which nothing can ever quite replace. The feel of the small hand, holding yours. The sound of a child's giggles that you wish you could bottle and save for a dark day. There is the reward of watching your children play a game together and feeling like your heart will burst from all the love. There is the reward of creating this human being, this tiny little baby who becomes a wonderful person.
Somehow, in our society we have forgotten that the reward does not come without the sacrifice. Perhaps it is because we are now an entitlement society where we expect to be paid and rewarded without earning it first. Mothers see little children as dolls to dress up. They are not dolls, they cannot be put on a shelf when we don't feel like playing. Parenthood takes work. A lot of it. And it may mean forgoing date night at the movies. It may mean waiting a year or two until the movie comes out on DVD. It may mean the only time you see the inside of a movie theater is to see an animated film for years on end. But it may mean that you raise a child who was wonderful and loving and caring and a productive member of society.
It bothers me to see people so selfish that they cannot put their own need for entertainment aside for an evening for the needs of their child. I may be making a judgment here but I'm guessing this is not the first time this is occurred nor is it the last. And to disrupt a child's routine, schedule, bedtime and expose them to something so harsh and gory, is needless. We all know our children learn by what they see and hear around them. It's why our kids watch Sesame Street. They learn how to count, they learn how to sing, they learn their colors and shapes. With the amount of times the F and the N word were used it's not unreasonable to think a small child could learn either one of those words in that three hour time span.
And I do know that part of what makes me better able to parent my children is that I do get breaks from them. My husband and I need time with just us to work on providing a stable foundation for our children. I'm a big advocate of date nights. If you can afford two or three movie tickets, the jumbo size popcorn and soda, as well as candy bars and designer clothes and iphones, you can save for a few more weeks to get a babysitter. But people don't want to wait. They want instant gratification. They don't want to stop and think about someone else's needs before their own. And this is just another thing that is wrong with our society and our mentality.
People need to stop and think. They need to realize that raising their child is their first priority. They need to be prepared to put their own needs somewhat lower. It is part of being a responsible parent.
Responsibility is a big issue these days. No one wants to take it because it often means we are at fault. Or it means we are sacrificing. We all wonder what the world is coming to. What is wrong with society. We all need to start taking a little more responsibility. We will never fix our societal problems unless we do. We can not teach our children that we have to give to receive, that we have to work to get paid and that we do not just deserve stuff. And it starts in the home with parents making the first sacrifice.