An Open Letter to Parents

This post originally appeared over at Lefty Pop.  But it’s a PSA which warrants repeating.

 

Dear Parenting Dynamo,

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but there are other people who must share this planet with you and your offspring.  We are walking on the same sidewalks, shopping in the same stores, and standing in the same lines.  And while little Brently’s unruliness may be cute to just slightly annoying to you, trust me, it’s damn near unbearable for others.

kids

Hey, can you get off your phone for a quick sec?  Over here, good, now focus for a moment.  You see your daughter over there?  She’s shoving through people like a running back.  I’m pretty sure that lady over there just winced in pain as she stamped on her sandled foot.  And her high-pitched caterwauling is interrupting that couple’s quiet conversation.  And…..yep, you’re back to texting as your hellions run wild.

It makes sense to me now, really it does.  How would your child possibly have learned manners with you as a parent?  You clearly never learned to use your inside voice either.  This line here, it’s here for a reason.  You don’t have some sort of super privilege that allows you direct access to the front.  But thanks for passing on that lack of situational awareness to your spawn as well.  He’s all set to piss off the next generation of manner equipped citizens.

Do not  touch.  Maybe he can’t read yet or maybe he thinks the rules don’t apply to him, but either way, your young-in damn near just pulled that exhibit down.  And while I wouldn’t mind watching him get a good scolding from a staff member,  I’m sure it somehow would have been the fault of the aquarium and not your angel.  After all, accountability is taught, and well, you clearly aren’t one for giving lessons.

If it were just you, I’d probably be ok with your lack of actual parenting.  But you’re not alone.  There are now dozens of distracted and entitled guardians roaming about these days.  You’re inflicting your shoddy parenting and basic life skills on us all.  I gotta be honest, I can’t stand your kid.  But after seeing his role model, I totally despise you.

Sincerely,

Heading into this bar for a beer.

 

PS (for my readers)- Before I get the “you don’t have kids, you don’t understand” hate mail, let me say I write this as a former kid myself.  Yep, I’m completely qualified to make the statements above because I know an alternative exists. As a child, I knew how to act when I went out in public.  I knew how respect others.  I knew better.   Less Candy Crush and more parenting please.

 

Random Thoughts: Raising a Child in an Idiocracy

Idiocracy.  It’s a really crappy movie with a really clear message.  Our population is getting dumber.  And lazier.  And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch it.

From Wikipedia-

Idiocracy is a 2006 American satirical science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Judge and starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, and Terry Crews. The film tells the story of two ordinary people from the present who take part in a top-secret military hibernation experiment, only to awaken 500 years in the future in a dystopian society full of extremely dumb people. Advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism have run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly stupid society devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights.

Now why would I suggest that you watch this truly idiotic movie?  Because it is sickeningly prophetic.  Just go check out the plot line and see if it doesn’t seem at all familiar to you.  It’s wildly ridiculous right?  No? You can actually imagine this happening?  Me too.  It already is!

I bring it up today for a few reasons:

1. I think I’ve brought this movie up in conversation at least 5 times in the last month or so.  Because something will happen, be aired on the news and I’ll say, “It’s just like in Idiocracy when….”

2.  I’ve noticed my damn near constant tethering to an electronic device steadily increasing.  Adding a blog to the mix hasn’t exactly helped that.  Between work emails, personal emails, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, restaurant reviews, etc. I  seem to never put my phone down.  It can be quite sad.  We can’t sit around a dinner table or take a trip to the bathroom without our best electronic friend.  I have to make a conscious effort to leave it alone and LIVE actual life.

3.  And weighing especially heavy on my mind:  several of my friends have brought up the differences in “the world today” as it pertains to their kids..  This scares the hell out of me.   I’m going to focus on this reason today….

I don’t have kids…yet.  I’ve waited for a number of reasons; namely it is very important that the other half of the parenting equation be “right”.  The right person was actually right in front of me a decade ago, ahem, Matt.  It just took me a while to catch on.  So now that I’ve figured that piece out and I’ve built a nice career for myself (reason to wait number 2), I’ve had to start considering this parenting thing more in terms of reality and not just some “thing” I want to happen in my life way in the future. But to be quite honest,  reality terrifies me when it comes to thinking about raising a child.

Here are some random thoughts I’ve been having when I’m really thinking about having children:

I have this feeling that I’m going to end up being some hippie, weird parent that forces “experiences” on their child and is lame, because I don’t think a three year-old should be parked in front of a TV or iPad all day.

Outside seems like it should be a big part of a kids life. They should get out in it.  Get dirty (without being coated in Purel).  Sweat.  Learn about nature in actual nature.

Kids should fall down. Their knees should be scuffed and they should have a few scars that they can tell awesome stories about as an adult.

They should have a chance to fail so that they may learn from it.  Not everyone wins.  Not everyone is great at everything.  Not everyone gets a trophy.

Not all kids are going to be friends.  Kids can be jerks.  What terrifies me is now they can be jerks in person, via text, on the internet, etc.  How do you protect your child from that level of interaction?  We aren’t just talking playground fights now.

Food is getting worse and worse.  What I’ll prepare and teach my child to eat will be whole foods.  But again, they’re going to want to rebel against hippie Mom and eat the crap their friends are eating.  And today’s crap is a whole lot worse than when I was little and would sneak spoonfuls of sugar out of the counter canister (sorry Mom).

Technology limitations, they have to happen.  Is it wrong that I imagine my child having no TV and computer in their room?  Go to bed at bedtime and read.  A book.  With words.

Schools and standardized testing….yikes.  Are kids getting to actually learn in schools today?  Am I going to have to go Montessori to make sure they have a chance to  develop critical thinking skills?

Kids should do chores.  They should be taught, at a young age, that we have to work for what we want.  A meager allowance teaches money management and guards against  instant gratification delusions later in life.

I find children’s programming today to be so dumbed down for the most part.  I guess I’ll just let them watch old episodes of 3-2-1 Contact, Square One, Sesame Street, and Mr. Rogers?

This.  Exactly this.

And the list goes on.  I’m sure this will just be the start of a huge brain dump of thoughts and concerns.  Do parents go through the “modern times panic” every generation?  I realize that there are so many things that are better about today than my childhood and that I probably have a bit of the nostalgia effect happening, but it just seems like we’ve seen a HUGE shift.  Thoughts?

kid-ipad

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Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Surfer Blood – Blair Witch

Eating:  leftover pizza

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  One of my most prominent scars obtained in my youth is on my right ring finger.  I sliced it open while washing dishes, one of my daily chores.