Your Children. Mini You.
Australia’s non-profit National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect is running a powerful ad, “Children See. Children Do.” Fortunately for the rest of the world, the ad has made its way to You Tube. Check it out:
Props to Parent Talk Today for posting that… It’s amazing, frightening, and dead on.
This weekend my friend Nicky– a 2nd grade teacher from Chicagoland– and I were talking about how much we’ve noticed the trend of parents to ignore the actions of their children in public (while the parent is in attendance). And even when bystander adults have to correct the child– the parent half-shrugs and continues their own agenda (chatting with friends, eating, reading, etc).
Case in point: Santa Monica has a Farmer’s Market next to an outdoor cafe. The cafe allows a large percentage of their grounds (porch) to be used by the public who have purchased at the market. There is a 3 foot brick wall around the porch ending in an upward slope and a cement planter filled with flowers.
We watched a 4 year old and his 3 year old sister jump up and off the wall, and then the boy (4 year old) try to climb up the slope to the flowers. The flowers were about 5 feet off the ground, so the slope was steep. If he had fallen, he would have cracked his head soundly on cement or brick– in every direction.
It was like watching a bubbly, inexperienced tight-rope walker. Not fun.
The kids belonged to grandparents(?) sitting at a table in the non-cafe part of the porch, staring off into space. Their table was no where near the brick wall.
Nicky and I were doing what all child-care-peeps do– which is eek & jerk about as if invisibly catching the child. We threw dirty looks at the g-p’s, tried to talk the kids off the wall, etc. The kids just stuck their tongues out and kept going. The hostess of the cafe eventually succeeded in gently ushering the kids off and away.
Now, mind you– there’s like 200+ people milling about this small/medium sized market… and many coming off and on the porch.
The manager had to come and ask the grandparents to remove their children from the wall. Which the gp’s did with reluctance, if not annoyance. Five minutes later they were back– the process repeated several times until finally the grandparents decided to leave.
The whole day was like this. Shortly after – a very “manipulated” woman (plastic? yes) talking on her cell phone physically stopped us from entering a shop (despite the fact we had the right of way) to let her daughter and her daughters friends (tweens, perhaps 12?) enter before us. She didn’t even speak to us– she just put her hand on my shoulder, stalling me enough to give her daughter the head nudge to go first. I hadn’t even seen them there, they had been walking behind us. The woman didn’t even look at me. Just kept talking on the phone. Her daughter’s friends walked around the shop like they owned the place– speaking very rudely to the employees.
Apples, trees, and short distance people. I’d like to see a commercial about children being “representatives” of their parents. Kids can be kids, sure– but never for the sake of their family or community. Pride and respect aren’t “pick and choose” features that we only speak about when it behooves us. My dad told me that, and my mom ensured that I carried it through.
Granted, I ain’t no saint. It’s always a work in progress, just like breathing, seeing, experience, and growing.