Part 1 of an occasional series - contributions welcome.
Is it desirable to make provisions in Kingdom Halls for a soundproof room to which disturbing children can be taken and in which the parent can hear and perhaps see the sessions and yet the child cannot disturb congregational meetings?—G.E.,
Children should be in the congregation with their parents, and the children should behave themselves. The parents should so train their children that they will behave. To provide some kind of “nursery” or “rumpus” room for unruly children seems to us a concession to obstreperousness. It deprives the children of training that should teach them that there are times when they must sit quietly and listen to others, when they are not to be the center of attraction. If a child cries or otherwise disturbs the meeting, it can be taken from the hall for whatever time is necessary to quiet it and then brought back. But if a special room is provided some parents will misuse it, going there and having their attention divided between the children and what is coming in over the loudspeaker, with the result that they give neither their children nor the meeting the attention necessary. Better for parent and child to be in the meeting, and when necessary the parent can take the child out and give it undivided attention, returning when the problem is settled. Parents can do this if they will sit with their children, and do it with little disturbance to others if they will sit toward the rear of the hall and near the end of the rows of seats.
We firmly believe that where disturbing children are a problem the solution lies with the parents and not in providing a soundproof room. Undoubtedly some parents are negligent in looking after their children and training them in proper conduct at meetings. It has been observed that it is in the more civilized countries such as the United States that children are most disorderly, disobedient and generally unruly, and the responsibility for correcting this lies squarely upon the parents. In many countries of the world where children are attending meetings in greater numbers there is much less disturbance than there is in the United States and some of the other countries usually considered among the most civilized. Children must be trained, not spoiled. It is our belief that the problem is being dodged, not solved, by providing a separate room or “isolation ward” for negligent parents and obstreperous offspring. Such a room caters to parental negligence and juvenile disorderliness.