Saturday, May 30, 2009

At the playground

Let’s say that you are in the park with your 5-year old son. Suddenly, another kid who is playing there comes over and slaps your son on the face, not once but thrice. You pull your son away and then prepare to deliver a sermon to the violent kid. As he tries to walk away, you hold his arm so that you can complete the sermon. Then the mother of that kid materializes from somewhere and accuses you of trying to beat her son….

Jason Kottke had this experience that left him with mixed feelings. The ‘parent’ in him told him that his reaction was perfectly normal, yet he had this ‘guilt’ that perhaps he had over-stepped the limit. He blogged about it and asked his readers to comment. “Am I being naïve in thinking that the playground is a collective parenting situation when it comes to this sort of thing? Or is touching or parenting another person's child, no matter how slightly or what the intent, strictly off limits in this overprotective and litigious society?” he asked his readers.

As I write this, he has received 177 responses; some telling him that he was wrong in touching the other child, some approving of his action, some suggesting that he should have socked the mom, etc.

I don’t know how I would have reacted had I been in Jason’s position, but incidents such as these only strengthen my admiration for the kindergarten teacher, who not only has to manage an assortment of badly-behaved kids, but also has to deal with the wrath of the ‘mother hens’ who would come charging in and take them to task, if some other kid had so much as laid a finger on theirs.

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