Oh oh oh…mornings this time of year, so bright, crisp, clear.
My little guy jumped out of the car and pointed towards the rising sun, pink clouds across the blue sky. LOOK! SUN BEAMS! His mom looked at me and said, who knew he knew the word beams…and right on cue he chimed in, what does beam mean?
Our walk is full of laughing, running, counting, and big hellos to everyone we see. It is peaceful and crazy all at the same time. Today we approached the school and heard FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT…a nasty chant interrupting our bliss. I watched from across the busy street as two boys pushed and shoved each other, the first ring around them urging them to continue…FIGHT FIGHT. The next ring watching in awe. The third ring…two dads, observing in awkward silence.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a bystander. Had I not had a 5 year old child and a nine pound dog in my care I would have dodged traffic and gotten right between them. I would have also addressed the “chanting chorus” and the “sit back and watch crew”. Some people love me, some hate me, I am who I am. As we crossed the street the bell rang, the boys shoved each other one last time and moved on. The crowds thinned. The dads laughed nervous laughs, one saying he knew the kids…good kids, ha ha, yuck yuck…then they went their separate ways.
Dads, dudes…you are cute and you are hip, and I love that you are walking your kids to school…but I think you know…you kinda blew a good learning moment.
When we allow our kids to use force instead of words…when we laugh as kids taunt and cheer on aggressive behavior…when we watch others be bystanders…we are creating a community that is not harmonious. The truth is the king of the hill one day is at the bottom of the pile the next, then they do much damage to regain their power, it is an ugly cycle. We do not need to live like that. Allowing this behavior in elementary school means it will continue, and once they are in middle and high school it is almost impossible to reign in.
The summer before our kids went to college I realized the many many ways we had failed them. I was their ATM, keeping track of their money on a sheet of paper then doling out cash as needed. We did their laundry, cause you know, they had so much going on with school and activities. I was their cook, maid, and personal shopper. Flipping out, awake at 3am, making mental lists of all things we needed to teach them…immediately. We had made their lives way to easy by letting it go, time and time again. Had we taught our kids these chores all along, their transition to college would have been easier. Bad Parenting 101.
We live in an amazing community, but we can still do better. Kids are going to be kids. I don’t believe in labeling them good or bad, but lessons learned now will follow them throughout their school career…and life.
As I left drop off I was still a bit sad. Then I saw a dad give his daughter a bear hug while yelling he loved her soooooo much…and my dog pranced home clueless to any drama, smelling some really good smells…and we greeted some super sweet neighbors…and best of all, there, at the end of the block was our little blue house glowing in the most perfect light…there was harmony.