Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are Children the New Second Class Citizens?

First off, I want to say I empathize with all those people who become annoyed by other people's kids.  I understand how frustrating it can be when parents are off to the side texting while their kids are terrorizing everyone around them.  I get it, I truly do.  As a stay at home, homeschooling mom I spend a lot of time around own and others.  When my kids were in school I was a room parent, teacher volunteer, went on lots of field trips.  But this post isn't about those kids, this post is about the adults.

Frankly, I'm a bit tired of the attitude.  Here's the deal, if you want to swim laps in the pool that's great.  There are many people who like to swim laps, so many in fact that most (if not all) pools have designated lap swims.  This is the time when the pool is open to only those people who want to swim laps.  You can also choose to swim laps during the open swim times.  If you choose to swim laps during open pool times please be aware that a beach ball or stray noodle is going to accidentally enter your lane occasionally.  Most good parents are just trying to make sure their child is safe and not drowning (and not drowning another child).  Stray beach balls and noodles are not real high on our priority list during open swim time.

See empty seats in front?
Yeah, that would be our seats
Also, please be aware that there are usually children present at Disney movies.  Inconvient, I know, but that's just kind of the way it goes.  So I suggest if you want to watch a kids' movie without kids around it would be better to wait until it comes out on DVD.  Then you can just rent it and watch it in the privacy of your own home.  That way you don't have to be annoyed at the four year old who always, always must go to the bathroom in the middle of the film.  (No, it does not matter if she went right before the movie or if she didn't have anything to drink during said movie, she will still have to go).

Speaking of bathroom breaks, this same child cannot make it through the hour long Mass either.  As a general rule the back of the church is usually where families of little ones sit for this reason (and also to make a quick getaway to the cry room).  If you're one of those adults who are bothered by little ones and like to be able to hear the homily I would suggest sitting a little closer to the front.  Those seats always seem to be available.  If this bothers you just offer it up and say a little prayer for the families who are bringing their young ones to church.  You can specifically pray for their patience, endurance and peace during this joyful but hectic time in their life.  Rest assure, your Mass is probably going a bit easier than theirs!

One more thing, people with children have to go grocery shopping too (just like the rest of the world).  Sometimes they choose to bring their children with them.  Sometimes they don't have a choice and must bring their kids with them if they want to have something to make for dinner that evening.  Even when children are polite and staying next to the cart they can get annoyed looks from adult shoppers.  They have just as much right as you do to be in the store.  Walking into them when they are standing completely still is considered rude in this day and age.  There are "adults only" stores, but most of them probably do not sell groceries.

I sometimes wonder where all the responsible adults have gone?  Am I the only one who noticed that many adults do not enjoy the company of children?  I hear many people my age complain about how kids can be self centered and rude, that they're not acting their age and are too immature.  But I also see how the adults around them are not acting their age either.  What kind of example are we setting for them to follow?  When we go out and have too much to drink (and then worse, we drive ourselves home)?  When we play violent video games for hours on end?  When we make promises to them and then don't follow through?  When we treat other people like objects?  When we don't grow up, mature and become responsible adults what makes us think that they will?

Parenting is a hard enough job so cut them and their children some slack and maybe offer some encouragement from time to time.  Who knows, maybe that annoying kid at the pool will be the paramedic who rushes you to the hospital ten years from now.  Maybe he or she will be the police officer who keeps you from getting robbed at that grocery store.  They may be your child's husband or wife, the parents of your grandchildren.  More than likely they'll be adults in the not too distant future.  Adults who will hopefully look at children and not just see little people who are annoying and in the way.  They'll see the future and all the wonderful possibilities...

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