Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Seating etiquette

I have a large collection of views on child rearing. They begin with Summerhill and then wander freely through world, going wherever they feel like going. They remain mostly untested and they're pretty happy that way. But I'm not going to go into all that right now. I'm just going to bring up one crucial, vital lesson, one thing that every parent must teach their child at the start of early toddlerhood. It is a critical lesson, more important than potty training, er, almost. Teaching it will not make a parent a "good" parent, but failure to teach it will soil, to the point of ruination, even the most exemplary and beautiful record of parenting.

Here is the lesson:

Anywhere that one has a seat and there is a seat in front of one, this could be in a classroom, on public transportation, or at a theater, the space of ones own seat is completely ones own. It extends to exactly one millimeter short of the back of the seat in front of one and no farther. Venturing to anything beyond that is the same as kicking the person in front of one

The strictures regarding the disallowability of kicking strangers goes beyond the realm of lessons.

If you are a parent and have not yet taught this, it is your very first order of business, probably before breathing. And I'm not only talking to whoever was sitting behind my wife and I at the dance recital we attended this evening.

If you are already an adult now and have failed to fully understand this lesson then I can only hope that god can forgive you. I doubt I can.


  1. There were very few adults to children in that row. I might add a secondary note about instructions regarding talking. And I request a feature on electronic ticket buying where the age of the person in a seat is reflected in the chart with the green and red squares.

    1. Since we're dreaming, I'd like the green and red squares to also include the seat owners' height.

      I support your views an instructions regarding talking, but consider it more advanced than the fundamental seat territory issue and wanted to work on the absolute basics first.

    2. Excellent enhancement with the green and red squares indicating height.


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