Parents’ guide to basic vocabulary

Parents’ guide to basic vocabulary

Dear parents,

The other day I was at a programme put up by the children in school. By the end of it I found just three or four parents watching it with me. The rest had either walked out already or were milling around near the exit.

For some reason that got me all worked up. I thought it was rude and impertinent. This one is for the ‘walkouters’ – a basic vocabulary guide.

To begin with, there’s this word in the English Dictionary – ETIQUETTE. Here’s what it means, and I quote: the customary code of polite behaviour in society.

You understand that? Obviously not. Had you understood even the E of Etiquette you would have known that it is rude to get up and leave in the middle of a performance, however small, however informal, however inconsequential.

You might of course have urgent business to attend to, you’re an uber busy person I know, and you have the right to leave. However, in such a case you might want to sit at the back so you can leave UNOBTRUSIVELY – you do know what that means, right? Leave in a way that is not conspicuous. Got it?

So as I was saying, you might want to leave without disturbing the tiny handful who do know what etiquette is. It is only polite to show some CONSIDERATION, another word that’s strange to you I presume. It means kindness and thoughtful regard for others. You might like to exhibit some kindness towards this tiny lot by not stepping on their toes as you walk out gushing over the performance of the apple of your eye.

There does exist, of course, the possibility of sudden unforeseen and urgent business coming up. However, chances of such business cropping up right after your own child’s two bits are done is rather remote.

There’s another word that might interest you, called DECORUM. It means behaviour in keeping with good taste and propriety. You might want to understand that word because chances are the D word is among one of the things you hope your ward will learn at school. Well how about practicing it yourself first? Or is it, that once you’ve written out that fat fee cheque you think you are absolved of all responsibility of teaching anything at all to your child? Least of all by example?

He is watching you, and learning from you remember that. So, I suggest, when you set out from home bring along with you a bagfull of PATIENCE, that’s the capacity to accept or tolerate because, the thing is, when you are invited to watch a show at the children’s school, you are invited to watch the ENTIRE show – the complete show, you understand?

Oh we know you are busy people, the rest of us of course have nothing to do but if we sat through your child’s performance it is only fair, that you sit through that of ours, that’s called RECIPROCITYthe practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. (Oh and by the way let me clarify that one of my child wasn’t in the show at all while the other one was done way before the end.)

If you cannot spare that one hour how about letting your ward perform exclusively for you right at home? That way there’s no trouble for anyone. Brilliant idea, eh? I knew you’d agree.

Lastly, you do have the option to simply BEG OFF the occasion which means to gain permission to be excused from. Do that. Don’t come. So that the rest of us can enjoy the programme in its entirety.

Thank you,

A jobless watcher of school programmes and maker of unnecessary lists.


Although its parents I’ve spoken of, we stumble upon such people almost every day. So tell me which are the ones that get your blood boiling?


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83 Replies to “Parents’ guide to basic vocabulary”

  1. This. It aggravates me every single time parents do it, and I fail to understand why they think it is acceptable behaviour. I wonder if this is the example they want to set for their kids. Sigh.

    Anyway, you are definitely not jobless, you just have all those qualities that you listed, and you’ve also made a very valuable, extremely necessary list for parents who seem to have forgotten about what these words mean.

    1. I cannot understand how people can be all concern when it comes to their own children and be totally oblivious to the feelings of another child. That was my major grouse.

  2. That is just horribly rude and inconsiderate!! To do so for any performance, but to do so at a child’s performance where they can see you milling out as they strive to remember their lines or lyrics is just terrible! And, as you rightly point out, what kind of example are they setting for their own kids?

  3. I personally find it very disheartening as well as outrageous when people do this for phone calls… I know office is important for everyone, and so is social life. But can’t those things wait for 15 minutes sometimes?

  4. How sad example for the kids. How they would have felt. And you missed the folks who pick calls sitting right there in the audience. Hate those too.

  5. That’s was surely disheartening for children performing. If we want our kids to follow the etiquettes we have to first set examples for themselves

  6. I think it’s very insulting to walk out of any performance… I loved the way you have spelled it out for all other parents. To walk out just after your kid’s performance is just so rude. I feel bad for all the tiny tots who would have been working hard and preparing for this show.

  7. I have attended 2 annual functions of tiny tots with kids age, not beyond 5 years and the parents were a highly civilised lot. Not one did get up from the seat until the end of the event. But simply waking up in between of performances or just after the ward’s performance is over is extremely irritating and lacks basic etiquette as you mentioned.

  8. Wow! You sound really ANGRY but it is completely JUSTIFIED. I have seen parents start talking and discussing loudly once their kid’s performance is done. So rude!

  9. You have raised a pertinent question in your post around pseudo busy life people lead. Checking on phones, ringing phones, walking out during mid of a performance to take an “urgent” call or simply walking out, what do people achieve by showing such apathy?

  10. I completely agree with you. This kind of behaviour irritates me too. I ensure if I’m in a program I should be there till the end or else better not to attend it at all. Nothing works for as to get up and go in the middle. I cannot tolerate that attitude… if its with kids’ program I can’t think about it.

  11. We are slowly becoming bunch of impatient, unruly, heartless humans. This situation happens not only in school, in public functions, weddings etc. I get more irritated seeing people keep moving in and returning in between the program.

  12. As a child during stage performances I disliked this category of parents. It may lead to child’s morale going down. And, now I find similar people in official seminars or meetings. If you dont have time then dont accept the invite!

  13. The biggest offender these days is the mobile phone. When you have someone talk to you and still you are engrossed in your smartphone, You know that we have become extremely non-smart as people. I hope it doesn’t get worse with time and age

  14. It irritates me so much when people forget to display at least basic manners. Every person should be taught the Etiquettes. Most of the times parents expect their child to do good when they themselves won’t set such an example.

  15. Oh wow what a creative way to make people enrich their vocabulary along with giving them some lesson on ethics . I know such people are real pain. Let’s hope they read and Follow some basic ‘Etiquette’

    1. Right Roshan. The last generation had some regard at least for school rules and for the teachers. Our generation doesn’t care for either, which is why they don’t bother to follow even the basic courtesies. And that is sad because we’re setting a bad example.

  16. Totally hear you Tulika. I get totally miffed by the ones who audaciously have long loud conversations in the middle of it all and when u give them that look they look at you and give you that “two finger give me a second gesture” great post and lots for ppl to learn. Basic code of conduct 101!

  17. There are people who do this too? 😮 How sad! I’ve seen them doing it during dramas and even movies, not bothering to not step on toes and such. But it sends a wrong message to children I think if they do during a child’s performance. Seeing people appreciate their performance would increase their morale, no?

  18. Ohh… You seem to be really hurt by the incident. What you said is right but Still, You and I know that such things will keep happening. Nice post
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  19. I totally agree with you. I found it rather amusing when the teachers announced at the start of a program that parents should wait till the whole program is over to collect their wards and crowding near the stage exit will not be entertained. Do we have to tell these things to parents?

    1. Oh yes Neha. One cannot assume anything at all these days. I’ve seen parents ignoring such announcements despite repeated efforts of the teachers and school administration.

  20. I’ve observed such behaviour in parents more than kids. Breaking lines, picking up fights for your turn, stepping on someone’s foot etc are things I see almost every other day. What example these people are going to set? This is such a relevant post, Tulika. These are basic manners. Probably writing them down in the school book could teach these people something.

  21. Yes this happens so many times Tulika. I have comes across another form of disrespect to other parents watching where parents start taking video of the program while standing in between only. This is utter nonsense. You can stand at a side and take out your mobiles but no….

  22. Tulika this post reminds me of my daughter’s first rehearsals last year. And trust me the behavior from few parents was such an eye & ear soar. This is kind of been there seen that feeling.
    but yes agree when as parents won’t learn and mend ways to behave can’t expect the same from kids.

  23. I am reading this post and thinking the timing is amazing, I actually have my daughters school concert this evening. It goes for about an hour and is always so much fun to watch all the classes. I don’t understand how people can walk out, do they not consider how much it would offend them if someone walked out on them mid performance? #mg

    1. That’s what I felt too. It is so very rude and how disheartening it would be for a child who has tried hard to put up a show to have nobody watching.

  24. Quite aptly put…I just wish we could get all the parents to read it….consideration for others is something which is sadly lacking in the society today…everyone wants to only think about themselves, consequences be d…! I wonder what kind of world are we leaving for our kids?

  25. Hmm, I understand where you are coming from. And I agree that it’s basic etiquette. But in our school, there’s an unwritten rule of sorts. Once your kid’s performance is done, you can choose to get up and move to the back and make way for the parents whose kids would be performing next. That way they get to see the kids up close. Nice, no? Also we are not allowed cameras or cell phone photos during the show which is a touch of genius actually. All parents are focused on the performance then. I thought that’s a nice touch. I think as long as the parents are not jabbering and disturbing the performance, their getting up and moving to the back is actually considerate.

    1. Yeah that’s good. Phones should at least be kept on silent mode. As for parents moving back and forth – not sure how that would work. Doesn’t it distract the children if it’s an ongoing performance? But getting up and leaving is rude. I felt sorry for the children who came at the end and were performing to empty chairs. That’s not fair. And I hated the disregard that the parents had for the show.

  26. Oh yes, I have attended my daughter culminating activity in school and so many parents walk in late. That is also extremely disturbing for the kids. And are we setting the right example as adults, such people who do not understand basic manners need to ponder.

  27. Totally! Sometimes I see parents being so indifferent to things that no wonder the kids turn out bad, it isn’t their fault, they’re just misguided missiles

  28. This vocabulary is most definitely applicable to more than just parents.
    Take a cultural event for example – A music concert or a dance recital. Or even a book launch.
    I was at a book launch recently where a prominent politician was speaking. Despite at least 15 reminders by the organisers requesting the audience to switch off their phones or keep them on silent, I was shocked to notice that more than 50% of those present did not pay heed. Of those who did, there keypad tones were so loud they could drown out some of the louder ringtones.
    Sadly they all need a firm lesson in the vocabulary you listed above.

    1. That’s the thing, this cannot be forced. each of us have to understand the importance of giving our full attention to what we have come to litem or watch or attend, rather then being pre-occupied by our phones or being in a hurry to rush away.

  29. Strange, I wrote a similar post on lack of good manners a few days back. People these days are boorish and selfish. I only console myself that what goes round comes round and believe you me now after 59 years on this earth, I’m seeing it happen!

  30. This happened at a friend’s sangeet. No one really cared for the performances as everyone was busy getting drunk. Rude! But then, even the performers were there not for the bride and groom but only to click pictures and get their 1 min in the limelight. Strange!

  31. This us what many people lack – Etiquettes!
    I too have written a post on the same topic from a Teacher’s perspective…. An apt post and the need of the hour!

  32. Oh my! That surely got my blood boiling. How on earth can parents be so selfish, insensitive and lack common sense. It’s no use blaming kids for being unruly when we know which great soul is setting the example

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