Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Just let them loose, why don't you, lady?!!!"

A gray-haired lady quietly but audibly fumed, through gritted teeth, at me, "Just let them [my 2 1/2 year old twins] loose, why don't you, lady?!!!" at the grocery store today.

My parents flew in from out of town. My mom, the twins, and I were out shopping. I thought that since I had another adult with me, I would give the twins a change of scenery and a chance to exercise and move about. Instead of having them sit in their stroller, they could walk around holding my mom's hand or mine. The twins were pretty good, for the most part (about 20-30 minutes). We were about to check out, when they somehow simultaneously decided to disobey and run for the wild blue yonder (slight exaggeration here).

I must confess, my first response to this woman's angry words was feeling rather offended, frustrated, hurt, and a bit angry. Who is this woman?

It isn't as if the twins were hanging from the rafters, milling through the shelves, or tripping everyone passing by. I have four children between the ages of 2 and 7, and I do my very best to teach them love, respect, responsibility, and consideration. I let them stretch their legs and arms once in awhile; is that a crime?

Perhaps this woman is from a generation where children are expected to be unseen and unheard. Or maybe she'd feel better if I had them on harnesses or leashes.

Alas, I want to let my children be children, while molding and shaping their characters into good persons. Striking the fine balance between setting rules to be followed (in the character formation process) and allowing their unique personalities to flourish can be a difficult challenge.

Lady, whomever you are and where ever you are, try not to get excited so easily. Life is too short to be so angry and frustrated.

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