About Me

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Tennessee, United States
Retired teacher living in East Tennessee, adjusting to life in the land of round door knobs. Photographer for our local animal shelter and foster of many dogs and kitties. Don't ask me how many dogs I have, but my son got me one of those "I'm the crazy dog lady" sweatshirts.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Wild Child

Late this afternoon hubby and I drove down to the new mall at RAB for an early dinner at the Macaroni Grill, which we had not tried out yet, and a movie I had been wanting to see, Where the Wild Things Are. I didn't realize I was going to get a live preview of the movie at dinner, from a boy who even resembled the protagonist. A youngster was sitting at the table next to us, with a man and woman, who I believe were probably his grandparents. Either way, a child borne late in life or a much-loved grandchild, this one had clearly been coddled and told he was special from day one and the results were on display for all of us to see.

The boy was not loud or argumentative. He didn't throw food or run around. In fact, he and his grandpa seemed to be having a jolly good time, drawing on the tablecloth with the crayons and horsing around. But, what made me frown and even seemed to make the grandma twitch was that the boy repeatedly hit his grandfather. Not a poke, not a tickle, but wham-bam pummeling with his fists. The grandpa's response was to laugh and dodge the punches, but that was about it. What really horrified me was that at least twice, as the man pulled his arm out of harm's way, the boy opened his mouth and lunged out trying to bite the hand that was clearly feeding him that evening.

This was not a toddler. This boy was at least 7 or 8 years old.

I could not help but think about The Dog Whisperer. I've only seen a couple of episodes, but I understand from raising my own dogs and two children, that you have to let them know you are the boss. They have to know that YOU are in charge. But in too many families, the children are in charge. The parents and grandparents have given up their role as mentors, choosing instead to try to be their children's pals. These kids are overindulged, catered to in every way, in a misguided attempt to bolster their self-esteem. Along the way, they lose their empathy for others and may even, like this brat, become bullies at an early age.

And, speaking as a teacher, I know from experience, that when these children have trouble in school, the parents come to their defense, finding fault with the teachers for failing to appreciate how darling their little darling truly is.

The parallel between the boy in the restaurant and the boy in the movie, who bites his mother in anger before running off to the island where he becomes king of he Wild Things, could not be missed. I did not see the trio in the movie theater. Too bad. The one thing the Wild Things wanted most of all was someone to take charge and tell them what to do, how to behave, how to be happy. At one point the boy tells his alter ego that what they really need is a mother.

On the plus side, my Parmesan Crusted Chicken Salad was delish, and I will be ordering it again, but thanks to the unappetizing behavior of my dinner companions, I left the restaurant with a bad taste in my mouth.

Crayon photo from applelogue.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas Greetings

Warm wishes for a safe, healthy and happy
Christmas and New Year.

I am grateful this year for the well-being of my family. There are some who are unemployed and have suffered financially during this recession through no fault of their own, but everyone is well. Everyone has a roof over his or her head and hope for a better future.

We all know that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that is out of our control. But, we who are able are all responsible for supporting those in need, whether family, friends or strangers.

It is the goodness of most people that I find to be the most reliable constant in the universe. Trust in that. Look for it. Be a part of it, and we will all get through the hard times together.