Archive for June, 2010
If we truly have multiple lives, I must have been a lizard at one point. I absolutely love the sun. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than sitting out in direct sunlight soaking in those damaging rays. I remember in high school spending every day laying out by the pool. Oh, how I miss summer vacation…three months of no responsibility and no thoughts of wrinkles, sun spots or skin cancer.
To kick off our summer this year, my little guy, my man and I ventured out to a local lake last weekend for a day of sun, sand and swimming. We live a short drive away from a man-made lake, made from an old rock quarry, filled with water and fish and surrounded by a sandy beach. There’s even a dock with canoes and paddle boats for rent. It’s a great family spot for days when you just don’t feel like driving an hour to the actual ocean.
As I watched the boys engineer an irrigation system to carry water from their hand crafted pool down to the shoreline, I looked around at all the other families enjoying the 90 degree day by the lake. Parents were relaxing in the sun, while the kids splashed in the water, barbeques smoked and umbrellas danced in the wind. What a beautiful display of family togetherness and summertime fun, I thought… That was until I noticed a sign propped up near the water’s edge.
Tent signs, printed in a bold black and white, lined the beach as if to guard the water line. These signs depicted two black figures holding hands, one significantly larger than the other. Next to this outline of parent and child, stood bold black wording, glaring out at all lake patrons, instructing parents to actively watch their children. These signs caught my attention and shifted my focus for a moment. Instead of watching the engineering feat taking place next to me, I began to think about these signs and what they represented.
At first glance, one might feel comforted by these caution signs, pleased that the community would go out of their way to protect children. One might think, ‘Wow, what a great Park and Rec Department we have!’ Unfortunately I see something else in these friendly reminders.
I see the deterioration of families and parenting.
Are we really at the point were we need signs and public service announcements to instruct us on how to be parents?
I was immediately saddened by the thought that we now need some form of government or authority to remind us to actively watch our children. I thought that trait was naturally ingrained in every parent from the moment their child was brought into this world. Apparently I was wrong. As I looked around I noticed, some people do need instruction.
If we’re going to have signs instructing us how to be a parent, we might as well line our parks and playgrounds with the following signs as well…
No Blackberry’s, iPhones or PDAs – Play with your Children, They’re Only Little Once
Manners Matter – Please and Thank You Go a Long Way!
Patience is a Virtue – Wait Your Turn on the Slide Politely
Name Calling, Swearing & Teasing Prohibited
Sharing Makes Everyone Feel Good
and last but not least….
If You Think Parenting is Easy, You’re Doing it Wrong