We went to Smith Memorial Playground in Philadelphia this weekend. If you are local and haven't been, it's worth the drive--even on a Sunday when there is a Beagles home football game. All in all, we had a nice time--met the cousins and grandpa, played, picnicked and played some more before heading home. One of the coolest features of this playground is an old-fashioned wooden slide--you know, the ones you ride down on a burlap sack? Well, Nathan decided he wanted to go down so I walked up the ramp with him, reminding him that I wouldn't be going down the slide with him, but that I would be meeting him at the bottom. While patiently waiting his turn, two older girls came running up the ramp and pushed past him. He said, "Hey! You can't push in front--you have to wait your turn!" [I am silently cheering because taking turns and waiting is something he has really working on, and he did it just right!] However, the dad of one (or both, I couldn't tell) hears Nathan doing the right thing and promptly says "you can't tell my girls what to do," INSTEAD of reminding the girls to wait their turns. WHAT THE !@(#$*Y)#*@Y%!!! To Nathan's credit, he didn't argue, get physical with the girls or anything. He looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, "but mom, they aren't following the rules, and I am." I know, baby. I wanted to punch that guy in the face so hard that he would be pooping teeth for a week. I know violence isn't the answer, but really? My kid has a hard time socially, and when he does the right thing I want to scream it from the mountain tops! Dang if it doesn't make me mad when adults, especially those lucky enough to be parents, act like children.
While having our picnic yesterday, Nathan grabbed a handful of pretzel sticks and said--I used to hold my crayons like this, but now I know the right way. Cousin J. says, yeah, I know how to hold pens and pencils and write--it's easy. Awkward moment--one of Nathan's biggest physical struggles is with writing and with holding tools and utensils properly. I said, Cousin J., it's not easy for everyone. After lunch, the kids were running around having "races." Cousin J. wins the first race, not realizing that Nathan had fallen down. Next race, Nathan wins and goes back to make sure Cousin J. is okay, to make sure he didn't fall or anything. There was a bit of a discussion related to competition/winning. Yeah, it's nice to win, but it's more important that you finish the race/game/task you have started. NICE guys (or gals) finish first.
I don't expect other people to raise their kids the same way I raise mine. I wouldn't want someone to tell me the "right" way to raise my kids. Regardless of the hows, whys, and wherefores, we must teach our children to be nice--to each other and to themselves (I still have a bit of a problem with that last part). A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last week.
4 Tips for Living a Better Life
Live without pretending.
Love without depending.
Listen without defending
Speak without offending.
Certainly, these 4 ideas won't make for a perfect life, likely not even a great one. But let's just try for a while to all be honest, caring, sincere and NICE to each other. If my 5 year-old with social/behavioral issues can do, so can we. Please be nice to me. Please be nice to each other. Please be nice to yourself.