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Has school started yet?

I have been having a discussion on Facebook this week about a woman from New York whose post gave five reasons she didn’t care if she used profanity in front of her children. One of her talking points is that she has given up so much for motherhood she felt shouldn’t have to also give up her favorite form of self-expression. She had others but this one got me going.

I did my best to advise her about maintaining decorum in the presence of her progenies. She mentioned that she really needs profanity when someone cuts her off on the BQE, (Brooklyn Queens Expressway.)

Did I go too far when I suggested that watching her language might help her avoid having to visit her kids at Attica or Riker’s Island in the future? Apparently so. I got scolded by an acquaintance for even suggesting profanity use might one day land her kid in prison.

A response from a good friend saw it as a teachable moment.

“Those are adult words, and I’ll let you know when you’re old enough to use them,” is way better than watching/hearing a 4-year-old sucking all the air out of the room and screeching when Grandpa or Auntie Maggie says “damn.”

Yikes, I didn’t know that was even possible!

On a different post, another mom is outraged because she can’t take her 11-week-old baby to the cinema to see the movie “Bad Mom!” Her argument was she needed to breastfeed her baby and the rule prohibiting children younger than 6-years-old from attending is discrimination and in some way unfair.

If I understand her conundrum correctly her baby’s schedule must be such that feeding time would come during the film. Unless this baby can quietly text Mommy when it is hungry, it will cry and disturb other members of the audience. Is it just me or is the younger-than-6 a very good rule to help keep the theater quiet?

I never thought I would see the day when I became the voice of reason.

Along the same lines, I don’t understand why some families need to travel in packs no matter the venue. Whole clans accompanying patients to the doctor’s office or emergency room is just baffling and unacceptable. A family field trip so the whole family can take granny to the hospital?

Why would anyone expose their child to unnecessary germs from a room full of sick people? Herds of youngsters crawling around on the floor while most of their adult minders are playing on cell phones really makes no sense. Why not leave an adult home to mind the kids and use the phones to update the rest of the horde on the patient’s condition?

It is probably no surprise that school can’t start soon enough for me. Get these flocks of children out of the stores, restaurants, off the streets and corralled back in the classroom. I tend to receive complaints when I rant about people and their kids. The support I get from people who agree with me makes it all worthwhile. Since I am not blessed with children, of course, I am an expert on how other people should raise their off-spring.

My father’s rule was children should be seen and not heard. That never went over well with me. I had two older brothers and felt I really had to be extra loud or get lost in the shuffle. That is the pathology of my third child, baby of the family, only girl syndrome.

Once I was grown I married into a family that was so much quieter than I was used to. I’ve tried for years not to shout and have managed a reasonable facsimile of a modulated tone. The cosmic joke however, is on me. About the time I learned not to yell, my husband started losing his hearing. The most often asked question in my home is “What?” Then the second time I say a sentence it usually has an sharp edge to it, my way of insuring I won’t have to say it a third time. Try as I might to soften that tone it creeps back in on its own.

The Golden Rule, also known as the law of reciprocity, should be instilled in children from a very young age. I believe the best way to lead is by example.

Treating other people as you wish to be treated can backfire and leave one open to the machinations of the unscrupulous. There are lots of cliches that address this problem. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, comes to mind. Do unto others before they can do unto you, is another.

Going through life constantly afraid you will be taken advantage of, must be exhausting. There has to be a middle ground between surly and Pollyanna. Have a great weekend!


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