photo by mK B.
I’m starting a new series with my blog. It won’t be on a particular day, since I’m too disorganized to even maintain something like Wednesday in Review or Frugal Friday, they’ll just pop up every now and then, sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Kinda like when you’re reaching for your drink, expecting sweet tea (yes, we pre-sweeten our tea down here, y’all) and drinking Dr. Pepper instead. It makes your mind and your mouth come to a screeching halt and wonder – what the hell?
So, back to my series… I’m calling it Random Rants and it’ll coincide with Random Musings, which I’ve sorta started, I just haven’t gone back and edited some labels for those yet.
Yesterday, I took the kids out to a local park. I love where we live, we have a great park system in place and on any given day, I have about 4 parks within about an 8 mile radius that I can take the kids to. Love that. Apparently, so do a lot of other people because it was really crowded. I’m guessing that since it’s fall and days are getting colder, on the days that it is nice, crowded parks are a given. That’s fine by me because it gives the kids a lot of other kids to play with and I always end up running into someone I know.
The thing that gets me, though, is the apathy of some moms. I’m not quite sure why, but they just seem to have lost that caring feeling when it comes to what their children are doing. I saw a group of young boys, all about 4-6 years old, playing with Star Wars light sabers. Sure, that’s not so bad. Kinda funny actually. But then they started beating on a small tree. Now, I know that I get teased for being a tree-hugger sometimes, but what was bothering me more about this is that there were younger children, about 2 years old and including Little Man, that were playing not far away and the older boys were trying to knock down branches. One little boy kept walking under the same tree and even though his mom kept telling him not to, that he might get hit, the moms of the other boys never told them to stop or move elsewhere.
Then one boy climbed the tree and started breaking limbs off for the boys to use for fighting.
I wanted so bad to say something, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why I didn’t. I mean, I know boys will be boys, but sometimes, that’s just an excuse for bad behavior. There’s a difference between playing rough and being disrespectful. What I saw was the boys being disrespectful to another’s property and risking injury to another child. The tree wasn’t theirs, the park wasn’t their yard, yet they saw fit to tear up a tree for their own five minutes of fun and they didn’t seem to notice or care that there were younger children around that could get hurt. The mom of the boy climbing the tree told him, passively, I might add, to stop and get down, but he didn’t really listen. Oh, he did eventually come down, but it was after the one branch he was trying to tear off was too big for him to do so.
Now seriously, Kool Aid, ranting over a tree? Yes. I believe it’s setting a pattern with children. If you allow random destruction of property, be it a tree, a yard, a rock, where is the line drawn? At what point do you teach your child that respect for a building or even a person is different than respecting something in nature? Respect is respect, right? Are we not called to be stewards of the earth? I’m sure this rant could very easily go into a political/environmental debate about all things outdoors, but to me, the bottom line is teaching respect and responsibility.
They were just having fun, Kool Aid. Sure they were, they were having great fun. But they were also risking hurting a smaller child that was walking underneath the tree.
I love climbing trees. I did it a lot as a young child, climbing an old oak tree in my yard several stories high (and scaring my poor mom all the time). I did it in college. There was a great magnolia on the lawn of the art school at my university that I climbed. Luckily, I never got hurt, nor did anyone get hurt around me. Monkey loves to climb trees, too, and while it worries me sometimes, I still let her do it if it’s a good tree to climb. I saw another child in a different, bigger tree, but he was just hanging out and part of me envied that.
My point is this. I try and teach Monkey to be respectful. Not having respect for all things, in my mind, leads to things like vandalism, inconsiderate behavior, thinking only of oneself, hate, intolerance, destruction. Yeah, it’s a little thing, tearing branches off a tree, but if every day a child tore branches off that tree, soon there would be no branches on that tree. No shade to offer parents or children to have a picnic under. No place for a bird to build a nest. And to get scientific for a brief second, one less tree to take in carbon dioxide and let off oxygen.
Call me a tree-hugger, that’s fine. I’m not going to go sit in a forest and cry out to dead trees, (and just on a side note, that video makes me almost ashamed to be from NC – almost) but I am going to teach my children that we are stewards of the earth, and while we do need to harvest trees, we also need to plant trees and protect national and state parks.
I’m also going to teach them responsibility. If they’re rough-housing around other children, they need to be aware and responsible enough that another child won’t get hurt.
Now I’m off to take the kids to the mountains to “respect” the fall foliage.
Respect and responsibility. What are you teaching your children?