Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Carnival Meltdown!

Whenever something irritates my friend, Johnny, he says "that really chaps my a--! And that describes how I felt last night at a local carnival.

I witness something that made more than my buttocks chap! I think my whole body was vibrating in anger!

Here's the scene:

The carnival was crowded and kids were being asked to double and triple up on the "Sizzler" which had quite a line. No problem, right? That is a reasonable request. Some my crew got into the seat (which easily accommodated three kids).

Of course, not everyone could follow the rules? One mom had two girls on the ride-each in their own car! The attendant didn't notice as he was busy getting everyone strapped in (the girls had already been on the ride).

When the ride ended everyone got off the ride-some kids wanted to ride again and so queued up again. Not the girls, though. Their mother was screaming from the sidelines-"stay on, stay on". When the girls made a move to ride together the screaming (and I mean screaming) continued-"don't move," the mom shouted above the din.

This time the attendant did see the girls-first in separate cars and then realized that they hadn't gotten off and were riding again-even though the line was snaking around the corner with other kids (including mine)who were waiting. As the attendant approached the girls, he politely asked them to get off and get back on the line if they wanted to ride again-the same rule that applied to
everyone else in at the ride.

Well, you would have thought that their mother had been stung by a bee-she literally leaped over the fence and started screaming at the kids to stay put. The kids were frozen-they didn't know whether to stay or get off. The mother exchanged heated words with the attendant-"why is this such a big deal-they aren't bothering anyone. I paid my money just like everyone else." Again, the attendant tried to explain that there were other children waiting and that kids had to get off of the ride and get back on line if they wanted to ride again-and that they had to double up if there was a line.

That is when the mother went crazy; screaming at the attendant (who, as a reminder, was doing his job). The attendant finally gave up and the girls continued to ride.

Why did this 'chap my a--'?

It wasn't just the display-which I found disgusting. It was the sense of entitlement that this woman demonstrated. For whatever reason, she felt that the rules did not apply to her family.

What does that mean for her kids-they will likely grow up with a sense of entitlement-to follow only the rules which apply to them-continuing the cycle.

As with all behavior that negatively effects our children and communities has to be stopped-and that buck starts and stops with us. Think about the last time you were talking on your cell phone while driving (which is illegal in several states) or ignored a restaurant's 'no cell phone policy'. When we think about our own behavior, and how many times we teach our kids by example that the rules don't apply to us, we are as culpable as the lady at the carnival.

Are you vigilant in following the rules-even when it isn't convienient-as an example to your kids?

Let's make a committment today to break this vicious cycle!

With respect and celebration,

PS: for more kids book reviews go to As Simple As That . We would love to take a look at your favorite books, too.

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