Serious Thoughts On: Crushing Children’s Spirits
On Easter, I put up a post with the title “People Are Assholes” that generated a lot of debate both on the blog and on Facebook. The submission reminded me of other similar submissions I posted in “the ageism series”, but interestingly people got much more irate about the Easter post. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s because the little girl was telling everyone Happy Easter, as opposed to saying “Hi!” to strangers on a non-holiday, or if it’s because they were picturing a supremely hateful “blonde lady at Kohl’s,” but man, people got stirred up. And to be honest, that confused me, because I was always taught as a child not to talk to random strangers. The more I thought about it, and the more people commented, the more confused I became.
For one thing, we don’t really know the situation. The fact that the woman went on Facebook to complain about this (non-)incident tells me that she’s prone to extremes and/or exaggeration, because honestly, who cares? Plus, the blonde woman didn’t actually say anything to the little girl. Some of the comments were so vicious, you’d think the woman stuck out her tongue at the girl and purposefully tripped her while laughing maniacally. (Although in my experience running the blog, those capable of such malice are often parents themselves.)
Then there’s the idea that parents who are sensitive to this kind of thing can’t have it both ways. Do you want your child spoken to by a stranger, or do you not? Do you want people to touch your kid (say, if the child tries to hand something to someone), or is that an invitation to call the cops? One person left this comment on the Facebook page: “I work at a rather large retail chain in Canada. We recently got a complaint because the cashier did not say hi or try to entertain a woman’s baby while bagging her items. Lol…YOU MUST GREET ALL BABIES or STAY AWAY FROM ALL BABIES. Make up your GD minds, moms!” I can relate to that, because I wonder if the woman in the Easter submission is also capable of acting like this.
Anyway, after giving it a lot of thought - and consuming several glasses of wine - I decided that shit was crazy and I would give up on figuring it out. But then I got the submission you see above. What makes this scenario any different from the one at Kohl’s? The waiting room part? We don’t know what kind of waiting room this is. Does that matter? I don’t think it does. Some people just don’t want to talk to children. Does that make those people rude? Maybe. But the point is, this happens a lot, and children’s spirits will not be crushed by it. At least, not for long. Rather than teach your kids that they’re the center of the universe, teach them that people they talk to aren’t necessarily going to talk back. It’s OK. They can handle it. And if they can’t, maybe they shouldn’t be talking to strangers in the first place. Just a thought!
(submitted by Anonymous)