While this infuriates some, it makes me smile.
Years ago, when I was barely into adulthood, and hadn't yet had a child, I sat talking with Aunties around a kitchen table. My Aunt Joyce said something that struck me then, and has stayed with me since:
"Kids never change," she stated, adamantly. "Cars change, technology changes, circumstances change, but kids don't change."
She would know; she had 8 of them. The oldest of them were coming of age in the late 60s; the youngest in the mid 80s. Yes, she raised teenagers in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Were her tactics any different for the youngest, than they were the oldest?
I'd wager not. Her household rules did not change. Her moral guidelines never waivered; and her love for each of her kids was steadfast.
It hit me then, that when I had my own child, that I probably couldn't go wrong by following her lead, and of course, that of all of my Aunts and Uncles, and of my own parents. Ultimately, there really is nothing to fear. Love them. Guide them. Pay attention to them.
I smile, then, when I have to stop my car for these kids in the street. We were once those kids, halting kickball games when someone yelled "CAR!!!!" I can tell you the names of the boys that would insolently, in 1975, take their sweet time getting out of the street, sometimes even smacking your trunk when you drove by. I can tell you who the "bad" girls were. We were grits and nerds and bookworms and beauty queens, playing jumprope and throwing rocks at each other (see this scar on my lip?)
I walked down my Mother's street, a few weeks ago, and asked these little girls if I could practice my photography. They squealed with delight, watched the camera instead of the ropes, and tripped up repeatedly. "Am I making you nervous?" I asked, and laughed as they sang in no uncertain terms, "Yes!" I told them I'd leave then, and got a chorus of "No! no, stay!"
Their mothers sat outside with the younger children, and the girls accompanied me to their front step. Those Moms gave me suspicious, questionable looks until I told them that I was trying out the sports lens on my camera, and I'd bring back prints of their kids in a week, if it was ok with them. I told them, "I don't want you to think I'm some kind of weirdo."
They fell about laughing, admitting that were wondering if I was some kind of weirdo, and were readying to get over and ask me what I was doing. Good for them.
I recently happened across another blog that had an open letter to 15-year-old skateboarders. It was a condescending and hateful commentary about their hair, their clothes, their parents, and their homes. It upset me so much that I deleted it from my subscriptions immediately, and I don't remember the name of the blog. If I did, I'd return to the post, and comment:
"HEY, Dumbhead," I'd say, "Try this! Try saying `Hey, kid! Cool skateboard. How long did it take you to learn that?!' or `Love the green hair; wish I had the courage to try that!' "
That's what I'd tell 'em, I would, and I'd tell them "I'll give you one whole dollar if you don't make a friend."
Because I still believe what my Aunt Joyce told me.
Kids don't change.