Yesterday afternoon, as I walked the little dog beside our local park, a small boy pushing his bike home from school looked at me and said, “Good afternoon”. I was so surprised at his politeness that I barely had time to say a quick “Hello”, before he then said, “I like your dog” with his face lit up with a big friendly smile.
He was about eight years old I suppose. Just an ordinary little fellow making his way along the footpath, pushing his bike - not riding, as the hill is steep.
Why was I so surprised? I really don’t know.
I have dealt with kids of all sizes throughout my life as a school teacher. Most children in my care have been pleasant happy little souls. Many I have really loved.
Several, I suspect (at the time) might have almost loved me.
And yet, here I am, in retirement, not thinking much of small children any more. I have forgotten what charming creatures they can be. (They can also be little monsters and even unlikeable – but there’s always a reason for that).
Of course, if you only take notice of complaints and television reports of how “today’s children” are all spoilt brats; how they focus only on computer screens and such and are uninterested in life in general, it gives the impression that kids are not nice to know. Too much emphasis is aired on ‘rude’ children, ‘out of control’ children and those who are generally badly behaved.
I think that’s often an attitude towards ALL people, towards all communities and all nations. It’s the general negative approach to ‘the other’ that seems the norm.
Today as I walked along the pathway, I saw a child on a skateboard coming my way. I stepped to one side of the path to allow him an unhindered ride. As he passed, I was greeted with a smile as he called out “Thank you”.
So another happy, active and polite kid.
Thinking on other recent afternoon walks, I recall similar situations; twice where a child has said, “Good afternoon”, and several where young skate boarders or kids on scooters have thanked me for making their pathway clear.
Most children I come across do not fit what seems to be the common perception of “today’s children”. Perhaps it’s a figment of adult imagination. Or exaggeration of some situations.
Perhaps that’s the same when it comes to the adult population and communities in general.
Maybe if we adults acted more as these young polite kids do, there would be fewer ‘road rage’ incidents, and, ultimately fewer conflicts leading to fewer wars.
One could only hope!
Anyway, I send a silent ‘congratulations’ message to the kids in our area.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be so silent.
Maybe I will be a ‘nice old lady’, instead of a ‘grumpy old lady” and send an email to the principal of our local school praising the children for their civility – and smiles!
One step at a time.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.