I’ve traveled much of the world–I had to count how many countries I’d been in over the past five years to fill out a form a while ago, and at the time, it was 15. I’ve come to the following conclusion from my travels: adults are definitely not equally attractive everywhere you go, but kids are uniformly, absolutely adorable, absolutely everywhere.
I have to say, though: French kids kick it up a notch. I’ve always heard about how much better the French are supposed to be at raising well-behaved kids than us Americans are, but I hadn’t actually spent any time with a French child since the mid-2000s. That all changed this evening.
Hoping to keep myself from spending the entire weekend holed up in my apartment, I bought tickets to three random concerts this weekend–Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday evening. I didn’t realize until I showed up at the Philharmonic today that the Sunday evening thing was a “family, participatory” event. So, there I was: 799 parents with kids, plus me, listening to Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, both Strauss and Lully versions.
In the US, this whole experience would have been hell, I think. In Paris, it was a totally different situation. For two hours, those kids sat and listened politely. When it was time for everyone to get up and either dance or bang on a drum, selon their assignment, everyone got up and either danced or banged on a drum, with great enthusiasm. Through the whole thing, there was no talking, no whispering, no video games, and no whining–I think I heard what was probably a two-year-old wail at one point, and that was it. Perhaps I am unfair to my compatriots, but I am pretty sure that in the US that audience would have been a sea of pouting, whining, talking, Candy Crush, and parents surreptitiously checking their emails. Please don’t think I’m claiming that French children are a bunch of little angels–Adam Gopnik describes the French playground as Lord Of The Flies. But, their behavior around adults can be impeccable, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about my own kid.
So, yeah–all kids everywhere are equally adorable, but some have that little bit of charm–and good behavior–that makes them…just a teeeny bit more.
Of course, Zipf’s Law visits us at the Philharmonie de Paris, just as it does anywhere else:
- la sonorité: (of an instrument) sound, tone.
One thought on “On the transnational adorableness of little kids”
If you’ve been travelling lots, you must have noticed kids are much better mannered than US kids in many countries. But don’t fret, though generalizing isn’t always fair, Italians top my list of little brats 🙂
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