The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (or the kind of kid you DON’T want to raise)

I’ll be upfront about it. I am the Ugly in this case. Because I do not have kids and I am being REAL ugly about someone else’s kids (really just one in particular who I will call GingerBad) that I spent some time with recently.

See, last year (2011) one of my goals was to learn the guitar and I had a friend teach me enough to give me confidence that this was something I could learn. I had previously had no musical experience of any kind and was worried that this would involve some long-atrophied part of my brain and I simply would not be able to do it. I loved my lessons with Megan, but wanted to add some formal training along with it, leaving my guitar / champagne / Jeopardy sessions with Megan intact but still building a solid musical foundation.

So, after searching around and getting recommendations from my musical friends, I was convinced to sign up for a beginner’s class. The class was not only guitar but also piano, bass, ukelele and …. one little girl with a flute. She was maybe ten years old.  Before the class even began I could tell she was going to be one of “those kids.” Whenever the instructor went to tune another person’s instrument, there she was, loudly talking about her flute. She told every perfect stranger in that room (there were 20 of us, kids and adults alike) that her flute was made of “real silver!” Most of us just stared blankly, but one nice older lady seated behind GingerBad indulged her and complimented the beautiful instrument. Still, this attention didn’t satisfy her. She insisted throughout the class on demanding the instructor’s attention at each turn. He would be instructing the guitars on making a chord, and she would repeatedly hold her flute up and make him acknowledge her finger placement. The instructor got so frustrated that at one point he even told her she was talking too much and that he was working with another group and that she should wait her turn. Her mother even urged her to behave from the sidelines, a maternal warning which she blatantly disregarded. In the middle of class, she turned and asked her father to videotape her. Loudly.

Now, as I am sitting there, I am wondering why the parents think it’s OK to let their child behave like this? Don’t they see how obnoxious that is? Don’t they know that this kid is never going to have any friends, just bully victims in that mean girl way that girls have to be her friend because they are afraid of her? Don’t they want to teach her better? I was this close to asking that the girl’s parents pay half my class fee because half of EVERYBODY’S class time went to her. Ugh!

I would have been totally not into kids at all had it not been for the GOOD, who I will call CurlyGood. A little curly headed boy who sat next to me and was so polite, but still had personality and good socializing skills. This 7 year old asked to share my music, politely corrected my left hand work (apparently, I was doing D7 wrong) and we chatted during the times the instructor was busy with someone else. I was encouraged about the state of the American Kid until I heard CurlyGood’s mom. British. Typical.

All in all, I think private lessons are for me. But more than that, private lessons are for GingerBad, at least until she is fit for public consumption. Maybe folks will get onto me about how I don’t understand and I don’t have kids, so I shouldn’t criticize. Maybe that’s true. All I can say is that I most certainly know and respond to well mannered kids. They are the ones I can see turning into adults I would want to hang out with. And me and Curly could grab a drink in like 20 years. But not so much with Ginger….


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