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Talking It Over: Teach children respect at an early age

Occasionally in the winter, I have the opportunity to stay overnight in hotels. Sometimes it is for celebrations and at other times just for relaxation.

Whenever I check into a hotel, I wonder if I will actually be able to get some sleep that night. The main reason I worry is because so many times, people are very disrespectful of others who are staying in the same hotel.

A recent visit turned out to be one of those times. Our family was staying at a hotel in the Twin Cities area and celebrating our grandson's seventh birthday. We learned quite quickly that there was a young team or teams of athletes staying at the hotel and my concerns began.

The swimming pool was jam packed with 8 to 12 year olds. It was very difficult to even move around and you were constantly being splashed, bumped and hit with flying objects. I tried to swim with the grandchildren but was so frustrated I got out.

During this time, a large group of parents, supposedly of these children, had taken every table and chair in the pool area and placed them in one corner for their personal use. Anyone else using the pool had to put clothing and towels on the floor. I was standing up and holding one of my granddaughters, watching the swimming for quite some time before one of the adults finally offered me a chair.

I knew then and there that the night would be long and I was correct. The parents must have gathered to continue their visiting in one room while the children literally ran up and down the three floors of hallways until midnight. Doors were slamming and the stomping echoed through the halls for hours.

I couldn't help but think that these parents were really doing harm to their children. Not just by letting them stay up until all hours and virtually ignoring them, but by the lessons they were teaching. It would have taken but a few words of advice and warnings to teach those kids to respect others in the building. They could have walked in the halls, talked in quiet voices, the parents could have shared the hotel-provided furnishings and they all could have had consideration for other people.

Children learn to respect others at an early age and they definitely learn by example. I encourage anyone who stays at a hotel to remember that you are not the only guests and even if you desire to stay up all night and have a good time, others may not wish to. Keep noise levels down and consideration high. Everyone staying in a hotel pays for the rooms and all are entitled to the respect of their neighbors.