I ran into a charming ( I use that term very lightly in this case) gentlemen tonight when I took my girls to play on the McDonald's Play Place . As I was standing in line to grab a snack, I could hear quite a few shrieks from the play area. No big deal, it's a playground for kids. The guy in front of me huffed and puffed every time a particularly loud shriek rang out. My first thought was that he must not have kids.
And then my four-year-old came prancing out with her pants half down on her way to the bathroom. Now, I realize this isn't sanitary, appetizing or particularly appropriate behavior. Believe me I know. She knows. The whole family knows. Once when she was three, she even disappeared on me in the library only to show back up a few minutes later pants completely around her ankles. I was so proud that she went to the bathroom on her own that I sucked up the embarrassment. But now, she's almost five so really she needs to stop dropping trou all the time.
I leaned over and firmly told her to keep her pants up, she's a big girl and she needed to keep her pants up on her way to the bathroom. The guy in front of me (Sir. Moans and Groans), snickered and then commented that his kids used to do that (my bad for my initial mis-judgement.) I commented that it was something we were working on, to which he replied: "Yeah. I've learned that most of the faults kids have are a result of their parents."
I was little taken aback. I mean, do I honestly look like the kind of girl who drops her drawers in the middle of a restaurant as I head to the bathroom? I should hope not. And then I thought, that was a little cynical... wasn't it? But as I pondered his seemingly insulting comment, I realized he had a point, except I'm not sure if it's the one he was trying to make.
I think I apologize for my kids too much. I mean, they are kids after all. Am I shoving "faults" or bad behaviors on their head simply because I see what they are doing as unacceptable from an adult's perspective. Obviously, I don't condone seriously inappropriate behavior and I do believe children should be taught manners and how to behave.
But, how often are we guilty of quickly getting out kids to button up and shut up because we worry what other people think? Kids will do silly things, things that may embarrass us but otherwise cause no harm. I think for me, the lesson was do I need to be correcting their behavior all the time? No. If they are a little loud in the library I don't need to walk behind them hissing for silence. Kids are kids. They are allowed to be a little loud, a little messy and a lot of fun.
I want my kids to grow up to be normal, fully-clothed adults. But I don't want them to grow up to be uptight and overly concerned about pleasing everyone around them. Maybe, the faults in my kids aren't really faults, just a result of blind parenting.