Friday, April 18, 2014

Children – The Weapon Of Choice


Being an old geezer, I can remember being taught caution as a child. You don’t play in the street. You stop, look and listen at rail crossing. You look both ways before crossing the street. You don’t step into other people’s path and so on. These lessons were backed up by the good examples set by our parents.

Unfortunately, even while I was still young, I could see an increasing incidence of parents letting their children run wild. This resulted in a lot of kids being hurt in ways that most kids would have avoided in an earlier era. Now that the unwatched children of that era have become parents and even grandparents, I’m seeing a new phenomena. Children are no longer just being allowed to run wild and endanger themselves, they are actually being used by their parents as a sort of passive/aggressive weapon for the parents to sidestep manners and good sense.

Children, warned to wait for their parents by previous generations, are now allowed to run into both foot traffic and vehicular traffic to clear a path for the parents. I suspect our lawsuit-happy society has helped encourage such behavior, for you sometimes hear the phrase “ just you let someone hurt one of my kids…” I’m not sure how a lawsuit would bring back a dead child. Granted, you never know what a child will do, even one raised by responsible parents, but you can tell that some parents are willing beneficiaries of such dangerous behavior.

The thing I see that most amazes me, however, is the number of parents, usually young women, who push their baby-stroller out into traffic to make cars stop and clear a path for themselves. Genteel drivers will stop and allow a woman with children to cross safely anyway, though such drivers are also shrinking drastically in number. Many young women just charge into traffic baby-first, though, seeming to dare drivers not to come to a screeching halt. Many don’t even look at the traffic, apparently assuming that the rest of the world will look out for their child better than they are. Sadly, they’re probably right. It’s a dangerous time to be a child. © 2014


Mamahen said...

I think your last statement says it all, and I couldn't agree more!

M.E. Masterson said...


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Wow! The women just walk into traffic? I really only travel highways to and from work and in the very small driving I do outside of work, it's back roads with no sidewalks. I only have to worry about deer.

Lady Locust said...

Grrr. I totally agree. Since when is it the motorists fault for hitting a jaywalker that darts from between cars (with or without a baby?)

M. Silvius said...

Here in Maine where pedestrians "have the right of way" it is absolutely ridiculous... they step right in tho "the magic cross walk" without thinking about it. They think it will protect them from physics as if a 4000lb vehicle could stop on a dime just cause they suddenly feel like stepping out in front of it.

Gorges Smythe said...

I believe you're right, Mh.

I assume that you've seen it too, ME.

At least deer make sense in their untamed way, Kathy. PEOPLE make NO sense at all sometimes.

It's the same logic that gives a canoe the right-of-way over a barge, LL. Some people end up correct, but dead.

Perhaps a two-year vehicular open season on pedestrians would thin the gene pool adequately to reverse the trend, Michael.

Pumice said...

Loved the title. Enjoyed the writing. Daily feel the pain.

Grace and peace.

kymber said...

ugh, Mr. Smythe. i left the city a few years ago to stop having to see this, and deal with it, daily. i have nothing more to add then, ugh. your perceptions and suggestions do not go unnoticed by some of us. and some of us are very glad for them. thank you, Sir.

your friend,

Gorges Smythe said...

Yes, Pumice, it must be horrible to daily see the effects of bad parenting.

I'm not sure what purpose my observations serve, kymber, but I never was one to keep my mouth shut, even when I probably should have.