I felt old one day last week. Oh, and irritated. I felt that emotion too. Ever find yourself feeling the same?
Ever find yourself wondering why more parents don’t teach their children respect and responsibility? Is it possible they do teach it and teenagers just don’t listen, or, perhaps, they forget? Maybe teens get sucked into peer pressure so tightly that they cannot think?
Our experience, last week, was a slightly scary one. My children and I were walking through the parking lot, of our grocery store. All of a sudden, a big, black truck, with four teenagers in it, came at us, at an angle, with intent of parking in a desired location. Both of my children, Coco, and Lou, jumped out of the way. And both, Coco, and Lou, said, “Mom, that scared me!”
I was pretty irritated. Actually, I was pretty hot about the whole thing.
I glared at the boys as they got out of the truck, and started across the parking lot, towards us. This is when the outspoken person in me took over. I positioned myself, inside the store, so the boys would have to walk right past me, and, as they did, my mouth opened and I started to say my piece.
I looked at the driver and told him, “What you did, in the parking lot, was not safe, not cool, and, you scared my children.” His response, as he kept walking away, “I wasn’t going too fast and didn’t do anything wrong.” Did I say I was irritated and hot? Because I now immediately went to DefCon 2 pissed!!
They walked inside the store, and left me, quite honestly, standing at the carts, flabbergasted at his response. Coco, Lou, and I preceded into the store and luck took over. Our first stop had to be the Customer Service desk. Low and behold, this is where the boys were standing in line as well. I think luck was on our side. This is when the idea struck me. All was not lost….
Standing in line, directly behind these four boys, I decided to be a teacher, for the boys, and, for my own children. To plant some seeds. To realize that, perhaps, the lesson here wasn’t for the driver. It may not have even been for one of the boys in that truck. Maybe, the lesson was for one, or both, of my own children. I decided that regardless of whom the lesson was for, there was definitely one to be taught and I began to be the teacher….
I spoke loudly that day; much more loudly than normal. This is the lesson that was given….
I told Coco and Lou that, as they grow, the first lesson they must learn is that if an adult tells them they have done something wrong they more than likely have. That they are to look at that adult, take responsibility for their choice, their action, and then apologize.
The next thing I told them is that if they are with a group of friends and they are not the one who did something wrong, in this instance, the driver of the truck, and an adult tells their friend that he or she did do something wrong, and that friend does not take responsibility, and apologize, that if Coco, or Lou, find themselves in a situation like this, that they are to help their friend to take responsibility and to apologize. To say something like, “Dude, that wasn’t cool, it wasn’t OK, and, you need to apologize.” I said, this may be difficult to say to your friend. It may actually be very difficult. Yet, it is necessary.
The last part of the lesson was this. I shared with Coco, and Lou, that if you try to help your friend to take responsibility, and he or she will not, as this could most definitely happen, that you accept it for your friend. That I expect both of them to stop and tell the adult, “What my friend did is not OK and I am sorry for his/her behavior.” Taking responsibility, like this, will leave an impact on your friend, as well as on the adult to whom you are speaking.
Time was on my side this morning. As the line didn’t move, and all four of those boys stood there, quietly, while the lesson was being taught. None of them said anything to us, and yet, as a parent, I hope that I planted a seed in every single one of their minds, and hearts, for the future. I know I accomplished that with my own children.
For whom was the lesson? Those boys? My Coco? My Lou? I may never know. I just hope someone learned that morning. And, hopefully, we can have a few more children in this world who operate with respect and responsibility.
Originally Written 29Jul15