The above photo sparked outrage and anger amongst two very VERY large moms at the park the other day … so much so that the police were called. Luckily, the police officer was of sound mind and didn’t even say word one to the kids about their “delinquent” climbing of trees and balance acts on the fence. Kady overheard him say, “They are allowed to be here, don’t give them any grief, they are just playing with their siblings.”
When did it come to this? When did moms start calling the cops on children who are playing innocently at the park. When did it become admirable to conform? When did it become the goal to ensure every kid mimics the other kid? I thought diversity was beautiful? I thought courage and bravery (two different things) and strength and a little bit of crazy was what we all try to instill in our children! What about independence and self-reliance and …
But apparently I’m wrong because this happens more often than not. What the majority of people want, in terms of kids, is quiet, non-challenging, obedient, invisible children. That’s where our parenting style collides with normal America. We don’t conform. We don’t ply them with pills, we don’t helicopter parent. Instead of saying, “Don’t do that” or “Be careful”, I say, “If you think you can” and “Be smart”. Instead of planting my kids in front of the TV and allowing hours upon hours of video game playing, we take them outside.
Outside is where you learn who you are and what you are made of. It’s where you push yourself and learn your own limits and then you learn to blow those limits out of the water. Climbing is to childhood what Apple Pie is to America. In fact, Dally was describing a playground to Grady and his exact words were, “It has a sick roof.” You can’t protect them from life, so you have to give them the tools to excel, the self-reliance and self knowledge to be smart in their choices.
The problem I’m seeing is utter laziness, hypocrisy & narcissism in parenting. Most parents don’t want to stand under a tree in case Johnny falls. And for the majority of parents, it’s just so much easier to control everyone else than to actually parent your own kids. These two particular moms were enormous. Probably about 300 lbs each. And they each were enjoying a meal from McDonalds and chain smoking. Why does this matter? I’ll tell you why. It matters because they were bellowing about my kids being “good role models”. Are you kidding me? Call me crazy, but I believe parents are the most important role models. Modeling a healthy active lifestyle is as important as any other value you choose to instill in your children. But, again, it’s easier to live by the rule, do as I say, not as I do, right? The whole throwing stones at glass houses thing really seems appropriate, no?
But it also occurred to me the following. Just when did it become my kids responsibility to model behaviors that other moms deem fit for their own children? I’ll tell you what, you will never hear my children curse or say God’s name in vain. You will never see my children bullying another, you will never see them vandalize or litter. You will never see my kids smoking or drinking or breaking the law. You will, however, see them pushing their limits hucking waterfalls, paddling epic rivers that you wouldn’t expect to see kids on, climbing rock faces, delving into unknown caves, flying down snow covered mountain faces, and yes, climbing trees. So, in my mind they are the ultimate role models, they model strength and skill and bravery and crazy!
Anyone who has been reading my blogs for any amount of time has heard me say, “It doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes two involved parents.” I’ve seen the village mentality and I want nothing to do with it. You can take your perfect attendance, your straight A report cards, and your conform mentality and shove it! 🙂 We’ll take to the trees and look down on the world from our high perch!!