I love my friends' children.
I also love the children in my extended family.
But chances are, unless you fall into one of those categories, I don't really like your kids.
Now don't get mad and write mean comments until I've had a chance to explain myself. It's not even the kids' faults. Kids are just a reflection of their parents, right?
As a parent, I know that there are days where my children are "off." They cry more, whine more and argue more. But for the most part, they are pleasant to be around and, dare I say, even FUN to be around.
This is not the case with every child. Hence my story...
We live in a community with several lakes, public "beach" accesses, boat ramps, play grounds, etc. It's a great amenity when your children are obsessed with playing outside. This past Saturday, we met some friends at one of the public lake accesses so the kids could swim and
There weren't that many people there; the big kids left the little kids alone; the parents were friendly. Everyone was happy...
...until a car-load of people pulled up and rolled out of the car, one after the other after the other. The crowd consisted of two parents, a little boy and about five little girls...all under 7. The little girls weren't sisters; they all looked about the same age and probably had a sleepover to celebrate the end of school. (Hooray for summertime and sleepovers!!!)
Reese was so excited when she saw the other little girls. She ran over to them and started talking to them and telling them about her sandcastle and the water and fish. The little girls collectively looked at her like she was speaking Russian.
You want to see me go all Mama-Bear? Then ignore my kid when she's talking to you.
The parents were right there. And instead of saying something like, "Honey, that little girl just asked you a question. You should answer her because it's the polite thing to do," the mom sat down in a beach chair and pulled out a book. Reading may be fundamental but parenting is more important.
But whatever...kids are kids, right? Reese is more resilient than me so she just went back to the water and was happy as a lark.
The little girls and the dad proceeded to play in the water as another car pulled up. This car must have contained the families of the other little girls...they all knew each other. There were more kids than I could count...of all ages.
The dad of this family unloaded a ginormous water-floaty-hamster-wheel-thingy. The beach area of this public access isn't THAT big and it was already crowded with the kids playing on the shore. This "aqua treadmill" was huge and could easily fit three standing adults inside.
This is what it looked like:
Some of the kids that weren't with this large group wanted a turn on the ginormous hamster wheel but were never afforded the opportunity. Usually when people bring large items like this to a public access, they share and take turns. Not this time; these poor kids were just expected to get the hell out of the way when the wind started blowing it in their direction.
Meanwhile on the shore, the smaller kids with this group were running a muck. They would pick up Reese and Nathan's toys and throw them out into the water. Or smash the sandcastle that Reese was building. Or pick up yet another toy and throw it out into the water.
And all the while the moms were planted in their chairs likely reading their monthly book club selections and ignoring the fact that their offspring were acting like complete jerks.
We left soon after all of this transpired and I've been running this through my mind for days. Those kids were jerks. Why? I just couldn't understand it.
I've finally figured it out. Those kids were jerks because their parents were jerks.
And thus the cycle starts: jerks beget jerks. (Isn't that in the Bible? Kidding...)
Yeah, I said it. Your kid is a jerk because you are a jerk.
Parents, let's all agree that we should teach our children basic things like 1) how to respond when someone speaks to them; 2) how to share; 3) how to respect other people's toys.
And for goodness sake, let's show our children that we love them by actually paying attention to them.
Parenting is the hardest, most thankless job in the world but society begs you....don't beget jerks. There's enough of those already.
"The most effective way to raise a nice child is to be a nice adult," L.R. Knost