Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Power of an Audience

I just recently realized the power an audience has over a child who is misbehaving.  First of all, we've all seen the kids who go absolutely wild because they have an audience.  This is the 'show off'.  Both our boys do this, although they are growing out of it.

The other side of the 'power of the audience' that I had never seen, or perhaps, I'd just never recognized it for what it was, is the part goes like this.

"Little Johnny, I want you to close your eyes when we pray.  We are talking to God, and you need to honor him by paying attention and not playing."

The child begins to acquiesce, but before complete submission takes effect, the child looks up to see the sympathetic eye.  Yes, there's someone watching, and that person looks sad that Little Johnny got called down in church.  :)

So, Little Johnny says, "Ah ha!  I can milk this one for all it's worth and make Daddy SORRY he had the nerve to tell me to shut my eyes!"  So the crocodile tears come pouring out of Little Johnny's eyes, and the sad, sad face makes everyone around wonder what on earth happened to the poor little dear!

Perhaps, at this juncture, some parents would give up, comfort the child, because...... I guess I just hurt his feelings!  Poor Little Johnny! 

OR

The parent can march Little Johnny out of the worship service and into a back room where he gets reminded how he is to act..... first during prayer, and second when he gets called down.  Is he to respond with a sad face???  Um, no.  He is to respond with a cheerful and willing heart to obey.

The reason I call this the 'power of the audience' is because these things don't happen when there is no watching eye.  Oh no.  When Little Johnny gets called down alone with his mommy or daddy, he immediately recovers and is joyful, obedient, and happy.  There's no 'recovery time'; there's no 'he's just so sad but he'll smile in a bit.'  No.  He is happy immediately and he shows it with hugs and cuddles..... UNLESS there's an audience.

Interesting, huh.

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