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Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks.’

Today I took my son to the local farm. At this farm they have a playground, cafe, shop and a bunch of farm animals. My son loves the playground. Because he is still young we can only go when the kids are in school so that he isn’t run down. He just is still to small to fight his way amongst the bigger kids.

We made our way onto the playground and he was all smiles. That is, until the heavens opened and it started to pour. Huge drops that quickly drenched everything. Typical British Summer. So we ran to the cafe. Today was the first time that my son and I went into a cafe and sat and had a little chat. I was so proud of him. He was so good. He sat on his chair (he could use a booster seat) and drank some Apple juice whilst I had a coffee. As silly as it sounds, this meant the world to me. I am a cafe kind of person and to be able to have my son sit happily, people watching, and munching on a muffin was perfect. I foresee many trips to Starbucks when we move back to the states.

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I was looking at the Mystarbucks site and I was struck, once again, how so many people have such a low view of children. A lot of comments along the lines of ” There is a place for mothers to get coffee with their children, its called McDonald’s” leave me frustrated, pissed off, and confused. Like Starbucks is a place for adults only. Yes, they sell coffee, but they don’t sell beer. I have sat many a time in a Starbucks with teens and twenties who are acting like loud mouthed idiots causing people to scurry out the door fast. But, as they are no longer ” children” then I guess that its fine. After all, I have a feeling that its these same people who make this type of comment. I do remember my twenties. The world belonged to us. We knew it all. Get out of our way. But I soon grew up.

The other comments that I saw quite often was “make Starbucks feel more like the European cafe culture”. Probably written by someone who has never been to a cafe in Europe no doubt. How you can make a Starbucks in Chicago with people coming and going in the fast paced busy lifestyle of America feel anything like the laid back cafe in Spain drinking a Cafe Con leche watching the world pass by is beyond me. The two worlds can not mix. Especially with the children not welcome attitude.

It did make me stop to think. Europe and its cafe culture. I have spent quite a fair bit of time in Spain. Home of the best coffee on the planet. The one thing you will see at any cafe bar in Spain is families. From grandma to the baby. Family is everything in this culture. You see children having their evening meal at 10pm with the family. Kids are everywhere. They don’t hide them away. Its one of the main things I love about Spain. Children are very welcome. They dote on them. They include them. When my step daughter was four she walked up to a Spanish family she didn’t know in Spain at a cafe bar and they pulled out a plate and fed her. They didn’t get upset and look around angrily for the parents who let their “brat” disturb them. What a difference. The one time it really really hit home the difference between Spain and the US/UK anti child attitude was when we went into a “Family” restaurant in Spain. This was when my son was 7 months old. We where seated and then noticed that everyone was British. Mostly elderly. We where the only “Family” there. From the moment we walked in we got icy glares. Dirty looks. Whispers. This was the first time on the whole trip that I felt uncomfortable because I had a child with me.

So I go back to the comments on the Starbucks site. How on earth does a child learn to be an adult without seeing how adults behave? If all we ever do is expose our children to the likes of McDonalds then that is all they will know. How will they know how to behave? As a small child my parents took my sister and my self to many very nice restaurants. We where expected to behave. You just didn’t become loud or run around. It just was not done. I clearly remember sitting in places eating things such as lobster or steaks and my parents having fancy cocktails. I had my Shirley Temple feeling very grown up. If a child is taught from very young how to behave, and it is expected then they will. Don’t get me wrong. Not all children are built for fine dining. But they are all built for better then McDonald’s as their only choice.

So if you think about it, Starbucks is the perfect place to take your child for a hot chocolate and sit for a while. The time is fairly short so the attention span lasts. They can learn how to behave in public by watching the adults around them. And, best of all, you can stop for a bit and have a chat with your child. What is more important then that?

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