“I believe that children are our future…” – George Benson, “The Greatest Love of All”
“I love children – parboiled!” – W.C. Fields
Actually, George had it right – children are indeed our future. Parents have one of the toughest and most important jobs of all – they are totally responsible for the lives of the youngsters who will inherit the Earth. They are tasked with the ultimate responsibility of shaping young minds and lives to take on the challenges that all previous generations of humanity have left for them.
And people wonder why I’m not an optimist.
I can’t say I’ve been impressed with several of the most recent generations of Homo sapiens who have walked the planet. At times, we really seem to be a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of species. We make great technological and sociological advancements that are reduced in significance by the raging preponderance of human stupidity. But I digress…
For those of you who are parents, either by choice or chance, you have my admiration and my sympathy. I wish you all the best. I hope you do good by your kids. I hope you give them all the love and discipline they need to realize their ultimate potential and fix all the problems we left for them.
If you are one of those parents who, however, believes your child to be a perfect angel from Heaven … perhaps you should quit reading the rest of this column and just come back next week. While the love of a parent may blind them to what’s blazingly obvious to everyone else, I must assert that there are children who fall into the Less Than Angelic category.
If you’ve ever wondered why most hotels and resorts offer adult beverage service around their swimming pools, the entire rationale can be summed up in just three words: “Mommy! Watch this!” Those three words, shrieked repeatedly at 112 dB, reflecting off the surface of the water and echoing through the concrete canyon of the surrounding hotel, invade one’s ear canal in the same manner as that of an ice pick. Meanwhile Mommy, who is just trying to read an escape novel in peace while the kids play in the pool, can’t find the poolside waiter fast enough to order that rum runner and calm her nerves … especially because Daddy is out on his fishing trip right now.
Now, not all parents are like that. Some dote on their children. Some dote on their children in an obsessive and excessive manner that is likely to cause major psychological damage to both generations later in life. I recently observed one parent-child interaction that made me want to bang my head against a wall. The 4-year-old daughter was literally running around in circles. Repeatedly. Over and over again. Repeatedly. In the middle of a crowded thoroughfare where other families were trying to just peacefully pass through and avoid the annoying whirling dervish.
The mommy, instead of taking the energetic youngster out of the crowded passage, kept encouraging her progeny’s behavior while snapping literally hundreds of flash photographs, filling her 32 GB SD card with gigapixels of blurry images of a kid running around in circles. (Daddy must have been out fishing.)
At least this child wasn’t riding a scooter around the same crowded passageways, terrorizing pedestrians and diners and people just trying to relax by the pool, while the parents sat blissfully unaware of the commotion, sipping on their rum runners.
There’s an old saying that postulates that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When I see a great kid – and there really are great kids out there – I really have to commend both the kids and their parents… and whisper a prayer of thanks that I never had to deal with a mini version of me.
– Catch John Wednesdays at Herbie’s, Thursdays at Sparky’s Landing, this Friday on Facebook Live for his Social Distancing Concert, and Saturday night at the Key Colony Inn. Music available wherever you get your streaming. www.facebook.com/john.bartus