About 2 weeks ago (I think..I can hardly keep up with my days much less my weeks!), we went to the park to let Colin run out as much energy as possible. Both he and Landon LOVE, love, LOVE, to swing, so we started out there.
As I'm pushing them both, I notice a group of four boys running around the wooded area of the park. Two of them were older...probably 8 or 9, and the other two were younger. One about 7 and the other probably 4. As I watched, to my horror, I see them chasing a poor squirrel and randomly throwing rocks and sticks at it. Mind you...these were not small pebbles, but they were HUGE rocks! Almost too big for them to pick up in the first place! The sticks were as long as they were tall. Thank God the squirrel was really too fast for them and could climb higher than they could throw! They were VERY determined though, and chased and chased the entire time we were on the swings...at least 30 minutes. They were screaming as they ran, "GET IT!!! GET IT!!!" I guess I was pretty shocked at how violent they were. It kind of gave me a strange feeling in my "gut".
Their "mothers" were sitting at a picnic table and seemed to be sorting through football jerseys. As we walked over to the play equipment I heard them spouting about how the "other mothers" just didn't realize how much work went in to "this" (assuming they meant the "sorting of the jerseys") and they were just SO wonderful to offer their time and assistance to do it (vomit, gag). All the while, their boys are chasing this poor defenseless squirrel.
A little later, Colin was running around playing, and I had most of my focus on Landon as he toddled around some of the equipment. I heard the younger boy run over and tell his mother something and, as he started to run away, I heard my sweet, SWEET, little guy try to start a conversation with this kid ( Ahem....I'm being NICE when I say that). The child looked at Colin and yelled at the TOP of his voice, "WHO CARES ABOUT THE FREAKIN' THING ANYWAY!!!!????"
WHAT THE F*** DID YOU JUST SAY TO MY CHILD??? (See...it's okay for me to cuss...not others right?) Of course, I didn't say this out loud, but it's exactly what crossed my mind. That...."kid" was only about 10 feet away from his mother when he yelled at Colin, and she didn't say a word to him.
Now...this may not seem like a big deal to others, but it really bothered me. I do my best to teach my children respect and empathy for others, the correct way to treat people, and all in all, just how to be DECENT human beings. I do my best to correct rude and abnoxious behavior and make sure that they treat people exactly how THEY would like to be treated. In the course of trying to instill these values into my kids....I guess the thought never crossed my mind that there were parents out there, who really don't care about the same values that *I* do.
Hmmmmmm, there is my reality check.
When our children are young, we have this "circle of control" (at least we feel like we do right?) that really encompasses their entire being. They're too little to do for themselves, so we feed them, diaper them, dress them, and even decide WHO will care for them. As they get older, that circle gets smaller and smaller. This is just the course and even purpose of "growing up". They make more decisions about how far they will venture out, what they will do, and who they will talk and play with.
I WANT my kids to be self sufficent and happy adults. I WANT my kids to venture out in to the world, to dream and take chances based on those dreams...hoping that they will pay off in the end.
I also want my kids to be happy....to be loved....to be treated with the respect and dignity that I expect them to treat others with.
I guess that situation just made me realize that even though I can try my best to instill those values in them...I have NO control over how OTHER people are going to treat them. This world can be such a hard place to live. How do I teach them to deal with the hurt that they will encounter? I'M not good at dealing with dissapointment and hurt. It sucks! For now...the hardest thing they have to deal with is one of us saying, "no" to a toy or movie, or just something they might want to do....at least I thought it was anyway.
My "control" is diminishing.
My boys are growing up.
I don't want them to ever be hurt.
I know that I can't control that.
Colin wasn't even bothered by what that stupid kid said. Maybe he's better at dealing with all of the crap that life can throw at us better than most adults, because I wanted to go kick his ASS!
Good for him.
Maybe he can teach me a few things.