Spawn of Satan—your table is ready.
A sign located in the window of a restaurant in North Carolina is grabbing national attention and reigniting a long-standing debate.
Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!
The gauntlet has been thrown down. Disciplinarians, libertarians, childless singles, stroller-pushers all seem to have an opinion, and the divide runs deep.
We have all been there. Even the most maternal, paternal, and child-loving among us have had an otherwise pleasant dining experience marred by food throwers, table wanderers, spoon bangers, booth kickers, toy tossers, water spillers, whiners, wailers, and weepers.
We grumble about the inappropriateness of bringing children to a restaurant of this caliber. We bemoan the current state of parenting, convinced that our parents would have never tolerated this disgraceful behavior. We recount travelers’ tales of meals spent observing the offspring of our European counterparts, with their hours of fidget-free behavior and adeptness with escargots tongs.
Defenders of the ban will point to the very underpinnings of a free society. The analogy has always been that the freedom to swing your fist should end where somebody else’s nose begins.
Then there’s the other side.
Parents and their defenders complain that they are being singled out. They gripe about the nasty looks they regularly receive, and sometimes even interference and criticisms.
They feel singled out, and consider a ban on children to be a form of discrimination. Would you outlaw people with Tourettes Syndrome because of their outbursts? Or seniors because they might have difficulty with hearing and tend to speak loudly? And let’s not forget their tendency to tell lame jokes to waitresses. How about the too-heavily perfumed, people who talk with their mouths full or tuck napkins in their shirts? The point, they say, is that accommodation and tolerance work both ways, and are a part of social intercourse. If you don’t like it, stay home.