Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Idiots at the Park

Sunday my family and I went to the part for a cookout with a friend and his family. While there, I took my daughter, Melina, down to the lake to look at the ducks and geese (she loves birds). There were people feeding the ducks and geese, so there were a lot of the birds on the shore. A woman and her (I'm guessing) ten-year-old son and a younger daughter were there, and the boy started chasing some ducks. Two older ladies told him to stop. This is how the subsequent conversation went:

Mother: Don't tell my child what to do.
Lady: He shouldn't be chasing those ducks.
Mother: I don't care. I'll get after my kid if I want to.
Lady: Ducks are a protected species. If a ranger saw him doing that, you would get a fine because he was harassing them.
Mother: I don't care. You don't tell my child what to do.

When the DNA-donor and her brats left, I went up to the ladies and said, "If you ever catch my daughter doing something she shouldn't, please do tell her not to do it."

The ladies thanked me, and we had a good time feeding the ducks and geese.

Those ladies were in the right, and that mother was in the wrong. Absolutely. If you and your children are out in public, in a public place, then you should expect people to help keep your children well-behaved. Otherwise, keep your brats at home. That is part of socialization. We go through life having others tell us what to do and not to do, subtly or directly. We obey traffic lights and speed limits. We dutifully get into a line at Starbucks. We do what we are told by our bosses at work. This latter is one of the main reasons why we should discipline our children and let them know that there are authorities out there, for without the lesson that you should listen to authority figures, your child is going to grow up to have a hard time keeping a job. And when a parent lets a child know, as this mother did, that (s)he doesn't have to listen to anyone, she is doing that child a disservice. That woman is raising an anti-social, narcissistic child who won't learn a thing in school and who will grow up thinking the world revolves around him. The problem with that is that it's not true and, being not true, it will result in someone who is seriously dissatisfied with life, since nobody's going to think he's as special as mommy does. In other words, this mother -- and all the mothers just like her, who seem to be dominating nowadays -- is raising an idiot. But that is an existential category you will have to wait until tomorrow to learn more about.
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