Sharing Memories

When parents tell stories about “the old days,” especially about how much snow they had to trudge through (uphill) [both ways] to get to school, most kids tune out.

However, old pictures hold a great fascination for kids. When we were young, my cousin and I loved to look through the old photo albums, many of which were falling apart, and ask our grandmother who the people were. As each picture had a story, so did each person. It was fascinating to see and imagine our grandmother interacting at a different age with people that we would never meet or in places we would never go.

It was also interesting to see how people lived in the past. No textbook can give you the true flavor of what the past is like, but pictures of everyday life do that perfectly. If you see no TV in a living room, but instead see a radio the size of a TV, you imagine yourself sitting by that radio (the only one in the house) listening to a program as a family. When have you ever sat by a radio and listened to a program with your family? Pictures of a kitchen minus the microwave, phone, modern refrigerator and other counter top appliances reveal that food preparation was very different than it is today.

Here’s a tip, parents. If you want to share your old stories, just leave your old photo albums around. The kids will soon be asking for the stories.

What To Call Parents

How many parents out there allow their children to call them by their first names?
I can certainly see that happening when a child reaches young adult stage, but there is something jarring about seeing a five year old refer to a parent by first name. I was at the mall the other day and I witnessed just such a scene. (One can make more observations of parenting styles and skills in any shopping center in ten minutes than by reading hundreds of articles or books.)

I assumed that the child was not indeed talking to her mother at first. It could easily have been an aunt or babysitter. As is inevitable when shopping with a kid, she wanted something that the adult told her she couldn’t have. Then the equally inevitable argument began with the child whining, “But Debbie (not the actual name), why can’t I have it?” That’s when the woman said, “Because I’m your mother and I said so.”

Is this the beginning of a new trend that I missed up until now?

The Great Vegetable Battle

I mentioned in a previous post how one of my fish is sick. One of the medicines is gel which is comprised of an antibiotic mixed with food. The directions actually say not to offer any other food for 24 hours before attempting to feed the gel. Clearly, like medicine for people, this stuff is not going to taste great.

Isn’t this exactly like trying to feed kids vegetables when they’d rather have cake? If you give them (give in with) other choices, then of course they will take the other choice. I know some kids will say. “Fine, then I won’t eat at all,” if they can’t have what they want. Your reply to that should be a smile and, “OK, well, then you’ll just be all the hungrier for your vegetables tomorrow.” Then go on about your business.

Let the kids pout, whine, and complain. Don’t give them any snacks later. The hunger feeling is a natural consequence of their choice not to eat earlier. Let them learn now that poor choices have unpleasant consequences. In the long run, being hungry a time or two is more than a fair trade off if that lesson is learned early in life.

Don’t worry; kids won’t starve themselves. Eventually, even the most willful child will decide it is better to eat what the parents offer than to go hungry repeatedly. (Don’t you just love that phrase “willful child”? Thickheaded and stubborn are more accurate.)

Babies in Restaurants

I know this debate is as old as the hills, but since the issue still arises daily, it seems to deserve another airing.

Why do people bring screaming babies to restaurants? Yes, I feel bad for parents when they are stuck at home with the children all the time and yes, they deserve a nice night out too. However, remember the old saying from high school history class (or maybe law school) when debating rights: “The right to swing your arms stops where my nose begins.”

Couldn’t that theory extend to sound? In fact it does in some instances since there is a concept of disturbing the peace. You have a right to listen to music at any audio level you like until that sounds reaches someone else’s ears at an offensive audio level, especially after a certain time of day.

Can we apply that to dining out? If a baby several tables away is screaming so loudly that someone at your own table can’t hear you, there is a problem. In contracts, it would be called “the right to quiet enjoyment” as in nothing else is interfering in your right to use the purchased item. What about the right to quiet enjoyment of a meal at a restaurant?