It’s no secret that I encounter more than my fair share of aggressive, reckless and just plain idiot drivers. I live in the city and I will probably die in the city by virtue of an angry & self-important person who truly believes he/she is immune to the law.
I encountered such a presumptuous person one morning last week on the way to school. I shouldn’t have been shocked, having barely escaped numerous “encounters of the absurd kind” over the last 6 years there. But this encounter really shook me physically and emotionally. My mind grappled with what had just happened: failure to stop at stop signs, tailgating, passing in a no-passing zone, cutting in too closely, speeding…all in a school zone!
What if I hadn’t slammed on my brakes, if one child had stepped off the sidewalk, if one cyclist had wobbled away from the curb…
The “what-ifs” aside, there was more – an image I can’t wipe from my memory… a little face peering from the back seat, over the shoulder of an angry driver.
What are we teaching our children?
- Disrespect: for their safety and the safety of others.
- Disrespect for authority and the law.
- Anger and Aggression.
- Lack of Empathy and Compassion.
- Bullying and Intolerance.
When we behave as if nothing happened, when we deflect the blame, when we minimize the damage, we’re teaching too. We make mistakes from time to time, and it’s ok for our kids to see us mess up. We’re human too. But it’s in how we handle messing up that makes an impact.
There are little eyes watching me in the grocery store, in McDonald’s, and in the school parking lot. There are little eyes watching me from the front pew at church, and from the back seat of their Mom’s car.
What am I teaching our children? It’s a sobering thought.
O be careful little eyes what you see…
O be careful little ears what you hear…
O be careful little mouths what you say…
O be careful little feet where you go…
– Colin Buchanan, (c) 1998 Wanaaring Road Music
p.s. On a hunch after I dropped Little Guy at the kiss ‘n ride, I drove around to the other parking lot. Sure enough, the vehicle was there…parked in a Handicap Parking space (feet away from empty unreserved spaces) without a sticker. The driver was very much in good health. So I took the time to take some photos to add to my police report.
This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or “mwa ha ha” moments).