My husband and I do not get to the movie theater often. When we take the time to go, we try to make sure that it is to see a movie that both of us will enjoy. 99% of the time, the audience surrounding us is made up of adults. We seldom attend children's movies – unless our grandchildren are visiting.
On a recent trip to a local theater, we chose to view a movie that was rated R – a mystery thriller. I'm not usually fond of such stories. I hide my eyes at suspenseful parts and look away when there's blood and gore on screen. But, I wanted to see this particular film because it had received such good reviews.
Sitting in front of us was a young child – alone. He had a big container of popcorn, a drink, and sat quietly throughout the movie. As far as I could tell, he wasn't scared, didn't hide his eyes, and didn't seem squeamish about blood and gore. He remained alone throughout the show.
When the movie was over and we were walking out, I asked him how he liked the show. He smiled and said, "It was good." I asked him if he was scared and he said, "Naw, I've seen worse." Then I asked him how old he was. "Ten," he said.
When we got to the theater lobby, a man and woman were waiting there for the boy. He ran up to them and they started to talk. I caught a bit of the conversation.
"How was your movie, Dad? Mine was awesome."
"Ours was good, too. Let's go, I'm hungry."
All the way home, I thought about that family and the young boy. Apparently, the mother and father had wanted to see a different film, had bought a ticket to an R-rated movie for a 10-year-old, and let him see it alone.
I asked my husband if there was something wrong with me because I was upset about the incident. My husband agreed with me that the parents were wrong to allow their son to see a movie like that alone, but my husband also thought that most of today's parents wouldn't think the same way we did.
Have I reached critical mass in my generation gap? Am I so old now that I can't understand the current life styles and morals of younger parents? Is it my imagination that many of today's parents are so selfish that they seek to enjoy themselves without thinking of the welfare of their children?
Those parents ignored the obvious dangers of allowing their 10-year-old child to be alone in a dark theater for two hours. They ignored the rules about who should be admitted to an R-rated movie. They didn't use family time to share a theater experience. I suppose if I wanted to be picky I could also blame the theater management for not insuring that rules are followed. But, in a theater that has one ticket-taker and twelve or more theaters, it's difficult for the personnel to check everyone constantly.
I would love to hear from my readers about this column. Have I gone over the edge? Perhaps I need a reality check.
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