Encourage Mom & Dad To Come, Too

I’ve been silent for a week. We’ve had some health issues in the family, but everyone is healing nicely. So, I thought I’d take some time this quiet Saturday morning to share something that happened to me Friday a week ago.

For the last 10 years on the First Friday of every month the art galleries in Richmond stay open late and unveil new shows. It’s a practice that a lot of cities around the country have embraced and it’s been very successful. Some might say, too successful.

Now, I’m not comparing what goes on to the riots in London, but First Friday now draws not only folks interested in art, but also hordes of young teenagers. And the last few months as young men and women with raging hormones have crowded the streets we’ve seen violence break out. This past week they arrested several teens and charged one with the possession of a firearm.

The organizers have decided to cancel the September First Friday as it will fall on Labor Day weekend and the fear is we’ll see an even larger crowd with the potential for more mischief.

I’m saddened by this, but the story I want to share was what, if I may say so myself, I think was a moment of brilliance on my part last Friday.

I was walking the Art District streets with Adam and Coldon of Lot 49 Media shooting video for a series of VCasts to promote Catch Your Limit Consulting.

A group of young men approached and as boys will be boys they started being obnoxious and intruding themselves into the shoot. Now in the old days of shooting film that would have been costly, but when you’re just shooting 1s and 0s there’s no real loss.

Of course, one of them had to begin to cuss and this was my moment of brilliance. I looked at the boys and said, “Aw, guys, you know I can’t use this footage when you talk like that. I was going to put you guys on TV, but I can’t use the footage now. That’s a shame.”

The crew and I kept on walking down the street as the kids went on the other way.

I could not help but smile as I heard the boy’s buddies start giving him holy hell. “Man, you can’t talk like that on TV. We could have been on TV and you talk like that. What’s the matter with you, fool? Damn!”

Now, I could have gotten angry and yelled at them, but frankly I do not have a death wish. Besides, I was reminded of my Momma’s every present admonition “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” As well as the old adage, “A kind word turneth away wrath.”

My hope is the pressure of his peers will curb the young man’s tongue; you never know. Cursing seems to be a rite of passage that fortunately some boys outgrow. And boisterous, obnoxious behavior is par for the course when a group of boys get together without their mommas around to keep them in line. And there’s something about a camera that makes people behave bizarrely. Just watch the Today Show in the morning if you don’t believe me.

None the less, I was happy with my moment of inspiration. I could have turned the incident into a confrontation. Fortunately, I didn’t. As I wrote earlier, I’m saddened that they’re canceling the September First Friday.

I wish instead the response had been to encourage the parents of young folks planning on attending First Friday to come along as well. People, even children with still developing brains riddled with hormones tend to behave better when people they know are watching.

Well, I’ll end with one more pat on my back. I’m pleased that I responded with love towards the little brats as opposed to being mean. The moment passed, no harm was done and hopefully those young men may behave a little better in the future.

We can only hope.