Last weekend I was out shopping and pulled open the door to enter a store. A woman was coming out of the store with a boy. He was carrying a plastic, toy gun. He raised the gun, pointed it at my face and said, “BANG! You’re dead!” The woman whisked him outside and said, “I told you not to point that at people!”
Ummmmmm. How about you told him not to bring the gun with you on your shopping excursion in the first place?
Okay. Let’s forget about walking a mile in this woman’s shoes. Let’s just try one lap around the track. Maybe this boy was her son, maybe not. Maybe she bought him the gun to bribe him for good behavior while they were out. (Spider Man wouldn’t have worked just as well?) Maybe he refused to go without taking his toy bazooka and the toy gun was a compromise. Who knows? I do know from my observation, this woman appeared weary, at loose ends, and out of patience. Been there. Felt that. I have walked that mile. Many times.
Here’s what baffles me: Why are some adults afraid to say no to children? Instead of having to get annoyed with the boy about how he played with the gun, why didn’t she just leave it at home in the first place? Because she didn’t want to argue with him about it? Because he threw fit? So what. Let him throw the fit. Say NO.
Years ago, I carried one of my sons, crying and screaming through downtown to take him home. I don’t even remember why, but I’m sure it was one of those, “You do that one more time and we are out of here. And I mean it,” moments. And I meant it. And I did it. And we left. He did not like it, but I knew if I had said it, I needed to follow through. Do not test me.
I’m the mother of three boys. Don’t give me the “boys and their guns” story. I know guns are tools and necessary for certain jobs and tasks. Toy guns don’t belong downtown with a bunch of people out shopping. Not okay. That would have been a fight worth fighting. Kid wants to wear socks that don’t match? Fine. Kid won’t comb his hair on a Saturday afternoon? Still fine. Who cares, really? Toy guns with a kid who loves to point it at someones face? Nope.
I realize the boy probably wanted attention and the only way he was going to get it was from the Roy Rogers impersonation he tried on me. I get that. For kids, sometimes negative attention is better than no attention. That’s a topic for a whole other blog post. Not for this one.
This woman looked tired. She seemed over-worked, underpaid, needing a break, wishing things were different. I get that. I’ve been there. When that’s where you are, it’s hard to see the big picture. To put your foot down when it would be so much easier to put them up and take a rest. But try your best not to ease up when your children are pushing you in a direction you know isn’t right. Fight that good fight.