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