I was at the cinemas last weekend. I had gone to see “The Greatest Showman” the 20th Century Fox musical starring Hugh Jackman as the main character. I had heard good things about it, and being a movie buff, it came first on my list of movies to see next. After going through the usual motions of obtaining a ticket, and getting in line to grab some popcorn and drink (a ritual that is practically foisted on moviegoers over here), because nowadays you have part with N2,500 to see a movie which comes with the “complements” of a fizzy drink and popcorn, but that’s a topic for another day.It was time to see the anticipated film.
Within minutes, I and a couple of fellow movie watchers were settled in the cinema hall. As is often the case with most cinemas, people trooped in at different times, and in the course of trying to find suitable seats, they constituted a minor distraction to those of us already seated. But, that’s to be expected. It’s practically impossible to have everyone seated at the same time. Soon enough, the silhouettes of late entrants found their place and all was calm again.
The movie must have been 10 to 15 minutes in when these group of girls came in. I couldn’t make out their faces because the customary lights out at the start of any movie was in effect and everywhere was dark, save for the flicker of light from the big screen and one or two phone screens within the hall. But it was easy to know they were teenagers. The giggling bunch shuffled between rows in search of empty seats, and after a while, one of them discovered that the last row was almost empty. And so they sat, and life was about to go on for everyone, or so we thought.
Now, there are people who cannot just be quiet regardless of where they find themselves. And with movies, they tend to become even more loquacious due to an insuppressible urge to comment on every single event that unfolds on screen. Some cinemas do have them, and much as the management of the cinemas come up with rules and appeals for quietness in the movie halls, some people just never get the memo, or they simply ignore it when they do.
Anyway, the entrance of the young ladies signalled the beginning of the end of the movie for the rest of us. I have encountered chatterboxes at the movies, but none can hold a candle to these girls. They talked and laughed as if they were in their private living rooms, completely disregarding the right of every other person to enjoy what they paid to see. Punctuating every scene with some inanity or lewd wor, clapping, getting overly animated, and sometimes melodramatic all at once.
At first, I thought they were oblivious to the level of noise they were making, I was convinced no one could be that selfish. But I was proven wrong because when their prattle became unbearable and a young man tried to call them to order, they not only laughed off his subtle chastisement, they resumed their chatter almost immediately.
It was obvious they weren’t repentant and couldn’t be bothered to be respectful of the rest of us in the hall. I was angry, but pity what was I felt more. I mean, these are supposed leaders of tomorrow, ladies for that matter. I know that teenagers can be mischievous sometimes, but the blatant lack of courtesy displayed by those young women cannot be attributed to anything short of a bad upbringing. Manners they should have been taught at home and emphasised in school.
Needless to say, I didn’t get to enjoy a movie I had longed to see for a while.
I mentioned the incident to the authorities of the cinema when we got out, just to ensure other moviegoers do not have to be subjected to the same thing we went through. If a staff had checked in on the hall during the not-less-than-two-hour movie, they would have been able to caution the errant girls.
Even though the incident with the unruly girls was nothing major, I shudder to think of the kind of adults they would make, and for me, it stressed the importance of parents bringing up their children the right way by teaching them the right values so they can be responsible citizens of the society. No child who has had the values of respect for others and how to conduct themselves in public inculcated in them would behave the way those kids did.
Parents, when you neglect to train your children properly, beyond embarrassing you in public, they become a nuisance to the rest of us. Many of the vices we are grappling with these days would never have become a thing if not for dysfunctional family units who end up raising children who are societal misfits.
Nowadays, there’s plenty of talk about child abuse through corporal punishment and the likes, but not much is being said about child discipline (and child discipline does not in any way translate to beating a child or subjecting them to hard labour or abuse). Disciplining a child is all about correcting them when they go wrong and not chalking their misdemeanours up to youthful exuberance.
As much as we are a “woke” generation, and matters like this can appear to sound like making a mountain out of a molehill, when we consider the depths of depravity society has sunk into and the dreary prognosis of what is to come, every one of us would be cognizant of the importance of raising children right.
It’s a collective responsibility we all have, either as parents or guardians.