Ten years ago, parents used to worry that their kids would embarrass them in the middle of their Christmas plays. Or kindergarten graduation. Or gymnastics meets.


They’re likely to pick their nose and rub their boogers on the child next to them, or perhaps pull their dress up over their head in the middle of Joy to the World, or maybe they’re that kid that sings SO loud and SO off-key that everyone else is giggling and pointing.

That was ten years ago.

Today, kids are much more worried about their parents embarrassing them.

Because 2014 parents are the worst.

Now we come outfitted with our iPhones and our iPads and our GoPros and our DSLRs and we’re trying to use them all simultaneously because we need video AND quality photos AND photos that we can immediately post to social media while still juggling all four devices. You know, to show that we’re engaged with our kid’s lives.

Noah had his preschool Christmas program a few days ago. I was puzzled when I arrived a few minutes early and found that we would have to sit near the back of the sanctuary, then wondered at exactly what time these other parents had staked out their spot.

Each, of course, needing an extra seat on the bench for all of their electronic equipment. The room was buzzing with brain cancer waiting to happen.

The director came up and made a few announcements, explaining where to go after to program, and then stating The One Rule.

“Remember – if you step out in the aisle to take photos, please go right back to your seat, as we want to keep the aisles clear.”

Whaaaaaat? Parents are going to paparazzi the children? No…..

I had possessed the forethought to sit on the edge of the pew so that I had an aisle view. I thought this was going to be to my advantage.

Here was my actual view of the Christmas Program.

Christmas Play View

As it began, the traffic jam was so intense that I was worried fights would break out over the best aisle spots. Then people gradually settled in with their iPad videography and various forms of photography, all assuming a graduated stance, one above the other, solidly staying put in the aisle.

Christmas Play View 2

It’s like they’d done this before or something.

But I couldn’t. It just felt too awkward – too exposed. And after all, they had asked that the aisles stay clear.

Apparently the other parents had heard “Let’s keep the pews clear” instead.

And so, I sat in my seat, and I quickly changed camera lenses. From my standard choice to my Veronica Mars Stalker Telephoto lens. Because that was the only way I was going to be able to snake through this crowd and see my kid.

Every now and then, there would a small window where I could nearly focus my zoom lens on him – but always with a head or device in the way.


Noah felt my angst, knowing his A-List performance had no chance of being recorded.


And superstar it was – watching his Music Director closely to see what he was supposed to do next, completely ignoring me and my mega camera lens.


Just like the classmates around him, he was fully immersed into this Christmas Program.


He was intensely focused on looking joyous,


On participating in all of the hand motions,


And never being distracted by his adoring fans,


…and all of their devices.

Because 2014 Parents are the Worst.

7 thoughts on “2014 Parents Are the Worst.

  1. I cried after our first preschool program last year. I was so shocked and disappointed in the parents. There was an older woman sitting next to me that decided to be the etiquette nazi on my behalf. She tapped people on the shoulders and told them to put down their iPads and get out of the aisles. I think every preschool should have a few technology bouncers present at programs.

  2. I would like to say that both of the shows I went to this school year were not that bad. My preschoolers Thanksgiving show (no Christmas show) though takes place in our fairly large chapel. The middle aisle is large and parents tend to be quick. I think though that since it is a daycare/preschool the parents are less crazy. I mean most of us have seen this since our oldest kids were in the baby room. Each year you need less photos. My oldest goes to a Quaker school and at her show we sit in the hard, very long benches. To reach the aisle would disrupt like 10 people so not many people do it. At the end of the show they give you photo opportunities. I will have to say though that I have been sticking to 3 to 5 pictures and I use the Canon rebel, not my phone, then I sit back and enjoy. What is odd lately is the parents that are taking tons of pictures of the childrens choirs. I don’t bother, they are up there for 2 min and just does not seem necessary.

  3. I will volunteer to be an aisle monitor / usher / technology bouncer next year, for safety, of course; it is of no consequence that I enjoy awkward confrontation.

  4. OH. OH. I wanted to choke someone at the pre-k programs my oldest was in. A woman in front of me literally stood the entire time and videotaped it. All I could see was her ass. I agree, 2014 parents are the worst.

  5. Sad isn’t it?! We had the option of buying a DVD of the girls’ dance recital which was really nice because it eliminated all this! Too bad that doesn’t come standard with every little performance these days! It would cut down on this parental faux pas.

  6. Same thing happened with me at my son’s recital last year. Everyone was in the aisle’s and standing up and I happened to ask someone to sit down and a guy next to me said “Just stand up if you don’t like it.” Because that makes sense and solves the problem, ugh.

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