Spring was in full bloom this past weekend. I’ve even noticed on Twitter people from both sides of the coasts were experiencing the same sunny, warm and adventurous weather. Since it was such a beautiful day and I had a ten year old under my watch, I decided to let her burn some energy at the park. Once we arrived, her first choice of activity was the swings. So I let her join the small group of kids and sat on an adjacent bench with my watchful eye. I noticed three larger girls monopolizing the two swings but decided not to intervene. Every child should learn how to speak up for themselves and the art of negotiation. But after ten minutes, I noticed that she had not budge from that spot from when we first got there. I even noticed a small boy politely asking these girls if they could swing next. It disheartened me when the girls ignored him and kept sharing the swings amongst their friends.
In my authoritative voice, (thanks to my five years of working with children) I addressed the girls and stressed the diplomacy of sharing. I knew by reprimanding them it would cause friction and to be honest, these kids were bigger than me and I’m an adult. After the backtalk accompanied with the neck-jerking, rolling eyes, and hissing of teeth, they finally obliged and only allowed the smaller children to use the swing. Since when is it right for children to address adults with such disrespect? Back in the day, I wouldn’t even speak to strangers with such ill mannered tones. These times are obviously behind us but boy do I miss the structured environment that children were once raised upon. At least I can reminisce.