I’m catching up on reading some of my favorite blogs today. This includes WWdN: in Exile, naturally; I rather enjoyed Wil Wheaton’s post on auditioning in back to reality, and in particular his bit on playing Munchkin with his stepkids in the sky’s whatever you say. I would have loved to have a father like him.
While we’re on the subject of kids (sort of), last night was grocery night. Somehow there ended up being about 4 or 5 little kids detonating in close proximity to us within the grocery store, their wails piercing the air–not to mention the soft, fragile tissues of my brain. I can’t think when loud screeching sounds are going off nearby, and I become incredibly tense, so the whole thing became an exercise in getting food and getting out as quickly as possible. I think that’s how we ended up with the Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Something amazing happened in a restaurant the other day–a kid started to scream, and one of her parents picked her up and took her outside so the rest of the patrons wouldn’t have to listen to it while eating their nice dinner out. I immediately decided I liked those parents. At the same restaurant a couple weeks earlier I overheard from the booth behind me: “Shush.” “If you give me candy I’ll shush.” Now that’s a smart (and dangerous) little kid.
I know it isn’t easy being a parent and having to deal with the mercurial temperament of children. I really appreciate those parents who try to minimize their children’s impact on others, rather than simply ignoring it.
I was strongly reminded yesterday of how much I loathe today’s parents’ tendency to teach their kids that the world revolves around them and is there to take care of their every need. I happened to be online in Warcraft when a multi-guild chat channel turned into a discussion in which a 19-year-old insisted that the world was black and white, with everything objectively either true or untrue, and a few adults tried to gently get him to see that this was not so. (Normally I might consider calling a 19-year-old an adult, but this one rather deserved to be called a kid–he had all the emotional maturity of maybe a 10-year-old at most, although I’m thinking six.) Basically, if you sat back and listened carefully to his arguments, what they amounted to was that his version of what was true was objectively true, and other folks’ interpretation of truth and falsehood was subjective (at least, wherever it disagreed with his views). A very self-centered, self-aggrandizing, and plain ol’ selfish view of the world. And he honestly believed it–he simply could not see any flaw in his logic. He wasn’t trying to be an ass–this was just how he viewed the world. Eventually I had to leave the channel before I got tempted to say something someone would regret.
I have actually met two modern kids (aged 11 and 14) that I not only like, but respect. They’re articulate, interesting, well-spoken, polite, fun, respectful… They aren’t prematurely-aged mini-adults, and neither are they spoiled, self-centered brats. They’re just plain old good kids, and I enjoy talking with them and being around them. It’s been obvious to me that their parents are wonderfully caring without being overly-protective or -doting, and I wish more parents could be like that. Caring for your kids doesn’t have to mean spoiling them, and having discipline doesn’t have to mean being cruel. As with pretty much everything else in life, moderation is such a good thing.