Monday, March 22, 2010

Some People's Parents

Last year in a piece called Some People's Kids I bragged about being not judgmental about other parents, and then went ahead and judged a few parents whose kids were running amuck. I fault not parents for being unable to control their kids, I fault them for not even trying.

On a completely different vein, I was waiting for the Skytrain (subway) last week, and the line I was catching also went to the airport. I saw a family with three years, aged about 6, 4 and 3. The parents each had multiple suitcases and bags over their shoulders. They waited about 6 feet back from the platform edge. The kids were in front of them. Nothing was stopping the kids from stepping forward into danger. The parents' arms were engaged with excessive luggage. The four year old girl actually kept talking about the yellow line and why she couldn't stand on it. The three year old (or younger) boy wandered to within 3 feet of the edge of the platform. The parents said nothing. Did nothing.

I was almost having an anxiety attack. My heart was racing and I could not believe these parents were taking ZERO precautions to keep their kids safe from the high voltage rails. I was ready to go stand between the kids and the edge of the platform when the train arrived.

I thought to myself, that these must be Stepford children. Trained to obey and comply with parental directives 100% of the time. I wondered to myself whether I could do this? Really trust that a 3 and 4 year old could comply with rules for their safety 100% of the time.

No I could not.

I would be very unlikely to take the train with three young kids. I would consider the cabfare a worthwhile investment in their safety and my sanity. If I did take the train, I would have the kids stand BEHIND THE PARENTS, with a Berlin wall of suitcases so if they did get the idea of wandering, they'd have to get around a lot of luggage.

When we got on the train, I was surprised that the younger two kids defied their parents and insisted on being able to stand holding onto a bar like many commuters. The parent insisted on their sitting down. The two defiants had their fingers pried loose from the bars and were taken to seats screaming.

Are you freakin' kidding me? This is the hill you want to die on? (if you'll pardon the extremely graphic and unintended pun.) If they fall down in a moving train, I'm thinking no injury, perhaps a bump or bruise, maybe a broken wrist if you're extremely unlucky. Falling into a high voltage pit with an oncoming train? I can't even think it.

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