I’d like to think of myself as a pretty levelheaded, polite person. I’m Canadian so I think it’s safe to say that relative to most, I’m on the nicer side of center. Having said that, I do have to admit that the parking lot of my son’s pre-school has been the site of a few rather unsavory social indiscretions. Most recently, I found myself calling a minivan-driving dad a “dick” in front of his 4-year-old daughter. I’m not proud of it, but I think if you were a witness to our exchange, you would understand where I was coming from. I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s important that you know that at some point during our very heated discussion about what a terrible person I was for having left both car doors open for my children, he actually said “I’m a pretty cool cat.” and “People like me.” Two things, I’m pretty sure only the biggest dicks say.
I realized in that moment, that having kids opens you up to a whole new world of people. People whom, if given the choice; you would opt not to interact with ever again much less on a daily basis. You see, if this happened in the parking lot of my local Trader Joe’s (also a hotbed of crazy because of the limited parking) I would be able to call the guy a dick, buy my groceries and be on my way without ever thinking of him again. But this dick, I have to see every morning and every night. I have to attend birthday parties with him, holiday shows and whatever other events the school fabricates to make more money. With every sighting I will be reminded of our bad behavior.
And even as I write this, I am well aware that if my son were to act the way I did, I would scold him for calling another person a name regardless of what they did and demand that he apologize. But that’s just it; there was no one there to referee our fight, no one there to parent the parents. We will never apologize and therefore, never really move past it the way kids do. It’s crazy adult behavior that can be seen every day in every parking lot across America and begs the question, “can we truly be trusted to raise our kids to be good and kind people?” Everyday we are pleading with our children not to bully, not to belittle and not to be mean but when are we as the parents going to “do as I do and not just as I say”?
I could go on beating myself and society up over this, but instead I think its best just to label this one a learning experience and admit that even though “I’m a pretty cool cat” and “people like me”, in that moment, I too was a pretty big dick.