Tag Archive | Kids

FFS, People! Teach Kids to Share!

**This post has a lot of swearing in it. You have been warned.**

sadI was preparing an entirely different blog post with significantly less swearing, but that one will need to wait. All this week, I’ve been seeing the same ridiculous “article” being shared all over Facebook and lauded as good and true and the way we should be raising our kids. It’s this one, in which the author (Very Bloggy Beth, henceforth referred to as VBB) argues that we should not teach our kids to share because by doing so, we are enforcing the idea that  our children are “entitled” to anything they want and that they can “step all over people to get what they want.” I have read this “article” several times over, trying to glean even a semblance of common sense or veracity from it, and all I’ve gotten for my trouble was an eye sprain from rolling them so hard at the overly-entitled bullshit attitude presented. I’ve also gotten a severe case of the sadz from both the “article” and the egotistical congratulatory attitude of, “Yeah! No one should have to share!” that I’ve been seeing all over FB this week. Thus, even though I can’t believe I have to say this, I will say it: “For Fuck Sake, People! Teach Kids to Share!”

 

Share, Goddammit!

Share, Goddammit!

Before I go further, I will say that I do agree with the first scenario VBB presents. That child brought a toy from home to the playground and should not have been made to share it if he didn’t want to. Personally, I wouldn’t have allowed my kids to bring something into a public place where there are other children if they weren’t willing to share it, but that’s me. So whatever. As for the rest of the asshattery presented, OMFG. There is no way in hell I would have allowed my child to monopolize a communal toy other children were waiting to use, and I sure as shit would not have sat on the sidelines if my kid was unwilling to share. That bullshit doesn’t fly here. I usually never judge other parents, but I am going to judge the shit out of that. Way to teach your kid that no one matters but them! Excellent job, VBB, you’re parent of the year! *said Juliane sarcastically* I’m curious to know how VBB would have felt if the situation was reversed? Would she have been just hunky-dory, A-OKAY! with another child denying her special snowflake the opportunity to ride on that toy for an entire 90 minutes? That might as well be a year in a toddler’s mind. And if there really was another “almost identical” toy nearby, why couldn’t HER child have used that one instead? Or why couldn’t the two kids have taken turns on the identical items, trading off after every few minutes? To me, that whole situation smacks of pure selfishness and plain lazy-ass “parenting.”

VBB defends her fucked up view of life by giving the example that “you wouldn’t cut in line at the grocery store just because you don’t feel like waiting,” and that is true. But, as a woman in my parenting group pointed out, you also wouldn’t stay at the front of the check-out line all day and say, “Screw all these people behind me!” Instead, you’d do your thing and then you’d move on, and then the next person would take their turn. Hey, wait! That’s sounds an awful lot like…*gasp* SHARING! I sure hope VBB isn’t encouraging her most special child to wait in lines! <<eye roll>> <<holy shit, my left eyeball just rolled away!!>> <<Fuck! Hold on.>> <<Okay, eyeball reinserted.>> VBB also states that by not teaching sharing, our kids learn how to cope with disappointment. While I agree that children do need to learn how to deal with disappointment since life is full of it, that doesn’t give our own kids the right to purposefully CAUSE frustration and hurt feelings in others by acting like self-centered fuckwads. Nor should we, as parents, condone that type of behavior by our silence from the sidelines. That is NOT okay. As for VBB’s bullshit examples of sharing cell phones and sunglasses, those are personal property, not public equipment and thus are not applicable. And, anyway, who hasn’t loaned their cellphone to someone needing to make a quick call? Is that just me? Well, I guess it’s because *MY* mom taught me how to share and take turns.

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“Would you like some of this crap?” “Why, yes! Thank you, I would like some of that crap!”

Look, I get it. Parenting is hard. It’s so much easier to just let the kids do what they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. And it’s certainly easier to sit your ass on the sidelines than to get in there and explain life to your kid or to be the one implementing a disappointment. But, when we don’t teach and enforce common courtesy towards others, THAT is when we are doing our kids a great disservice. Sharing itself is what teaches kids that we aren’t entitled to whatever we want for as long as we want it. Sharing also teaches kids the art of negotiation, empathy for others, and patience. It will also teach your special little snowflake how to deal with the disappointment of not getting exactly what you want exactly when you want it. Sharing is mostly a lesson for the person doing the sharing, not for the person on the receiving end of the sharing. Knowing how to share and take turns is an important life skill and kids are not born with it. The fact of the matter is that kids are born as selfish assholes. It’s really their defining characteristic. That means that it is doubly important that we grown-ups teach children how to be functional in society. To that end, how about we not teach kids that it’s okay to hoard something that’s for the entire group? How about we NOT teach little Jonnie and little Janie that they are the center of the universe and that the rest of us mere mortals just have to wait? How about instead, we DO teach our kids the joy and sense of fulfillment that can come from allowing someone else to go ahead of you in line, to take a turn with a coveted item, and to just be kind to others because that’s what people should do?

Look, I know people are going to raise their children in the manner they see fit and that, ultimately, this post only serves to vent my own feelings and make me feel a bit better about this shitty world. Some people are going to teach their kids the atrocious manners espoused by VBB. It makes me sad for your kids if you decide that MEMEMEMEMEMEMEME! attitude is right for your family. I can only hope you are in the extreme minority and that majority of us (I know I am) are still teaching our kids to share and to take turns. I suppose that only time will tell, but it seems to me that any delightfully self-centered egomaniacs will eventually be put in their place by their peers. I mean, think about when you were a kid…did you want to play with someone who didn’t know how to share and take turns? Did you want to play with someone who hogged all the good toys? I’m guessing not. To be clear, I’m not advocating that kids must share everything all the time, but I am saying that we DO need to teach our kids that we should share and we should teach them how to share. For example, in VBB’s second scenario, she could have said, “Hey, why don’t you, sweet fruit of my own loins, ride that toy for 5 minutes and your new friend can ride this on this one for 5 minutes, and then we could switch?” (OMG…compromise! negotiation! *clutches pearls* sharing!) Contrary to what VBB seems to think, those are skills most of us adults use daily. Guess what? We started practicing those skills at a young age on the playground. So, FFS, People! Teach Kids to Share!

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Long Live

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Downtown Des Moines, Iowa

I live in Iowa…flyover country to most people, but I love it. I love to see the change of seasons (although, after this last winter, I am none too anxious to see that particular season come around again). I live in the capital city, which means that we have access to both our traditional agricultural roots and city living benefits including Broadway shows, outdoor summer concerts, theater, art festivals, kids fest, and the like. We have a children’s zoo, a science center, a spectacular art museum, and a sculpture park. The people who live here are generally friendly, real estate is affordable, and pre-K through grade 16 education is important. More specifically than my general love of my state, I love the geographical location of my house within the state. I am 20 minutes away from three major shopping centers, 2 blocks from a grocery store, less than 2 miles from a SuperTarget, 3 blocks from the elementary school my children attend, and less than 1 block away from the entrance to a major city bike path/jogging trail.  Best of all, it is 20 minute drive from our front door to the front gate of this. Adventureland – a relatively small family-owned theme park plopped down in the middle of Altoona, Iowa. This is the subject of today’s post. This piece of magnificence opens for the 2014 season today (in fact, I’m probably there right now as you read this-thanks WordPress post scheduler!). Adventureland’s opening heralds the true beginning of spring and the slow crescendo to the hot, humid Iowa summer.

A view from the bottom of the ferris wheel.

A view from the bottom of the ferris wheel.

Although Adventureland Park was well established as one of the summer activities by the time I was old enough to enjoy it, I can’t remember one occasion of actually being in this park until I was a teenager. When I was growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I used to see commercials for Adventureland on TV and I wanted to go. Of course I did…who wouldn’t? Many of my friends were able to go at least once during each summer season, but not me. Although, this is before they put in the best part of their resort – the waterpark – so I guess it’s okay. Plus, it’s water (park) under the (train) bridge now. Due to the distinct lack of Adventureland in my childhood, when my own kidlets got to an age where I thought they might enjoy a trip there, I talked my husband into season passes (seriously, you can buy season passes to the place for $100 per person. For the entire season. That price includes both the rides and the waterpark and free parking). Our first summer of Adventureland was in 2012. On that first visit to the park, my then 3-year-old somehow thought the most visible ride as you walk up to the park gate, a huge and scary ferris wheel, was the only ride in the park. Between the time we got out of the car and made it up to the entrance, he convinced himself that I was going to make him ride said ferris wheel, and well, he threw up in the grass. It was not an auspicious start, but I can’t blame him. Hell, if someone tried to make me ride that fucking ferris wheel, I’d throw up in the grass, too! I don’t like ferris wheels.

Regardless of my dislike of ferris wheels and big M throwing up at the idea of riding one on that first visit in 2012, once we

Skee-ball time! It's still just $0.25 per game...can you believe it?

Skee-ball time! It’s still just $0.25 per game…can you believe it?

got inside the gates the kids were ecstatic. Moreover, they were totally hooked on the place. Adventureland boasts a multitude of rides for the preschool/kindergarten crowd…a carousel, a tiny Ladybugs roller coaster, a kid-sized ferris wheel (I won’t ride that one, either), kiddie kars, a frog hopper, a semi-truck convoy ride, and airplanes that “fly” in a circle just to name a few. There are also big rides for the grownups, shopping, bingo, 2 halls of arcade games, more traditional fair-type games (skee-ball!), a circus, a variety of magic shows that run 4 or 5 times each day, and, of course, the waterpark (which opens on Memorial Day weekend!!!). The great part of having season passes is that we don’t feel obligated to do ALL the things every time we go. Our proximity to the park and the freedom of time we have in the summer means that we can pop over for an hour or two in the evening or on a random weekday morning. During that time, we enjoy a ride or two, a nice summer stroll, a couple of rounds of $0.25 skeeball or Whack-a-Mole, a box of popcorn, which is a must for our youngest, and then we head home. Not everyone has this luxury. We are grateful that we do.

More than what the park has to offer as far as rides, games, popcorn, and other things to do on a warm and lazy summer day; however, Adventureland represents family bonding time. Right now, our boys are 4 and (almost) 6 years old. They enjoy doing stuff with Mom and Dad…soon to be known as boring parental units. Right now, they like to have us ride on the carousel horse beside theirs. They like us to snuggle them in the seat on the crazy spinning Lady Luck and they like to cuddle with one of us while the sky chairs move us from one side of the park to the other. The boys scream in mock terror when we suggest that they join one of us on a big ride for which we know they aren’t ready. They still accept our advice on the proper way to hold/throw a skeeball, and both of them insist I squeeze onto the train bench with them instead of sitting with their dad in the seat behind. This will not always be the case. Soon enough, my Adventureland summers will involve dropping off a gang of my boys and their rowdy friends with money in their pockets and an appointed meeting time. The adults and the teenagers will go their separate ways. My husband I will probably count it as lucky if we happen to cross paths with them while they go one in one direction and we go another in the park, and when we meet at the appointed time, the kids will regale us with the story of their afternoon exploits. I will be sad that they didn’t deem us cool enough to tag along with them. That day is coming; I can feel it. But not this year. This year, today, the 2014 Adventureland Park season begins. The slow build to summer starts today….Long live the sun baking the blacktop in front of the Galleon. Long live the smell of the popcorn and the funnel cakes. Long live the carousel music jingling sweetly along the main street. Long live the roar of the thrill rides and the screams of the passengers. Long live the delighted giggles of little ones on the Ladybugs roller coaster for the first time. Long live the shout of joy when my kid wins one of the fair games. Long live the cool splash of the waterpark at the fever pitch of July. Long live sunscreen and sore muscles. Long live two little brothers excitedly laughing and dancing down the cracked walkway in front of the Balloon Chase ride. Long live childhood. Long live summer.