We have had some rough weather on the east coast of Australia recently resulting in some flight delays, and combined with my desire to get to airports early, accumulated into 4 hours of unexpected reading time at Coolangatta Airport yesterday.
I sat by a big window to take advantage of the light and within minutes a family of four had a similar idea and plonked themselves next to me. Mum, dad and two 10-year-old boys (or thereabouts). Now, I would be the first to admit that parenting can be tricky and parents are not immune to poor moods, and airports, which sometimes signal the end of either a perfect holiday or a disaster, probably equate to a Petrie dish of emotions, and therefore may not be the best place to make judgements about parenting skills, but…
Poor Riley. In the hour they sat next to me, I counted dad being rude to young Riley on more than twenty occasions. Bearing in mind, I didn’t start counting until it became like a broken record so it could have been double that. I judge rude to mean, the father saying something that he would not say to a peer, or saying it in a way that he would not phrase it to a peer for fear of having his front teeth knocked out.
For instance you would not say to a peer, “don’t interrupt me I’m doing something here.” A polite considerate person might reframe that as “Hang on just one minute I need to concentrate for just a minute while I get this done and then I will be straight back to you” or how about this? “Riley, move away, give me some space, I hit you every time I type on this side of the keyboard” or “Leave me alone Riley”.
Poor Riley is going to grow up without any manners because dad doesn’t use any. Or worse Riley is going to work out that dad uses his manners with everyone but him. From my vantage point of 100cm away, all I could see was an eager, sweet kid that wanted to be close to his father. He asked sensible questions, none of which were answered because dad was way too busy uploading photos using the free wi-fi and every question was met with a response like “not now Riley” “leave me alone” “I’m doing something Riley.”
Kids learn so much from their parents, manners, consideration, caring, time management, prioritising, how to love and show appreciation and so much more. How do you think little Riley is fairing? As a spectator it isn’t up to me to point out that dad has no manners or is treating his son poorly, or is a twerp (a beautiful old-fashioned word) but that won’t stop me writing about it.