TEMPERAMENTS at the THEATRE!

Last weekend, I had the privilege of seeing the musical, “Cinderella,” at the performing arts center near our home. Not surprisingly, the theatre was half full of kids, attending with their parents or grandparents, to see the Disney musical.

Lily James is Cinderella in CINDERELLA , a live-action feature which brings to life the timeless images from Disney's 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generaton.

 I confess, I love to people watch – especially, kid watch. Now, before you consider reporting such behavior, I am a teacher of temperaments and view each situation, in which I find myself, as a workshop of sorts where I look for temperament examples.

My first subjects, at the theatre and under the proverbial microscope, were sitting right across the aisle from my friend and me – a brother/sister pair attending with their parents. The boy (11ish) was quiet and well behaved. The sister (10ish) was neither quiet nor well-behaved.

I was curious if their temperaments would be easily noticed.

Before the show started, the mom – in a hushed voice – told both kids not to put their feet on the chairs in front of them. (The seats were vacant at the time.) The boy quietly obeyed. The girl – putting her feet ON the chair in front of her – argued, “Why? I’m not bothering anyone.”

Her feet remained on the chair as she further protested, “I don’t have enough room for my feet; and, it’s more comfortable to sit like this.”

The mom quietly replied, “The people who sit in the seats in front of us will be bothered by your bumping their chairs.  Now, put your feet down please.”

By now, several adults and I were watching this conversation unfold.

The girl did NOT budge and rudely commented, “Okay, I will decide when they get here. I’ll put my feet down IF they ask me to.”

By then, I wanted to reach across the aisle and knock her feet and her across the room; but, much to the delight of the friend who had invited me, I refrained from doing so.

The father and brother said nothing.  By intermission, the mom was exhausted from continually asking her daughter to behave, and made the girl sit on the aisle the 2nd half of the show. This put her RIGHT across from me. Oh, the temptation to say something…

Her behavior did NOT ruin the show for me. I enjoyed every minute.  However, I cannot say the same for the couple in front of her. I am certain, if there had been any empty seats in the theatre, they would have moved during intermission.

I was sad neither parent did anything to correct their daughter’s disrespectful behavior.  It was evident her actions were nothing new. The daughter is obviously in charge in their home. I was frustrated to hear the mom repeatedly try to correct her. Each time, she was met with a loud, annoyed sigh from the girl.

A 10 year-old’s behavior probably ruined the show for the couple sitting in front of her – who, by the way, turned around each time her feet bumped their seats.

I don’t blame the girl. She is obviously allowed to argue with them repeatedly.  So, they are the reason she behaves accordingly.

My temperament guesses: the daughter is a RED. She was loud, bossy and rebellious.

The brother, quiet and intense, appeared to be enjoying the entire performance. Possibly, primarily a BLUE and, totally unaffected by his sister’s behavior.

The timid Mom appeared to be an overwhelmed GREEN.  She was dressed beautifully. The sparkle in her outfit suggested some YELLOW.  However, I predict, her daughter’s behavior took the fun out of the day for her.

My guess would be the quiet dad is primarily a GREEN, uninvolved parent. He ignored the daughter’s behavior, his wife’s frustration and never interacted with the family. He was on his phone, with what appeared to be a business call, throughout the entire intermission.

There were plenty of kids behind us, and a special needs teenager next to my friend – all of whom behaved beautifully the entire afternoon. The theatre tickets had been expensive.  Everyone in the auditorium deserved to enjoy the performance.

A parent, teacher, or person in authority should be able to prevent such behavior, from any child of any temperament, by building and demanding respect.

God’s Word instructs children to obey and honor their parents. It is the only command in the Bible that promises a reward. This is for every temperament.

Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: 3 that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

A GREAT book I encourage parents to read on this subject is Boundaries With Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

I hope your next trip to the theatre is a pleasant experience!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Shirley Bengtson

    I am thankful for you, Kathleen. My grandkids knew you expected them to listen to you and obey what you asked of them the last 2 years of attending your summer theater workshops. I accept the advice you give because you set the standard with kids you teach at workshop, church and your own grandkids at home.

    • thekathleenchapman

      Thanks Shirley! I’d take your grandkids to the Theatre anytime!