Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It takes a really annoyed village

More proof that I am indeed an adult, especially one with kids, occurred today.

Our Christmas tree is sitting near our curb waiting to be picked up by the city. I was doing something in the kitchen this afternoon, look out the window and see two boys, probably about 10, and one of them pushed the tree into the street. I walked outside and asked, in my best pissed-off-yet-commanding voice, "Are you going to put that back?" The kid asked what, and I repeated "Are you going to put the tree that you just pushed into the street back on the curb?" The kid said he was sorry, walked back and put the tree where it was. All the while, his friend was trying not to laugh. The kid finished, I thanked him, and they walked away.

I've said things like this to misbehaving kids a couple times before. As I say the words, I sometimes can't believe they are coming out of my mouth. But it's the same things adults other than my parents would have said to me if I was acting like a punk when I was a kid. And when I mean adults other than my parents, I mean my parents of course corrected me, yelled at me, were disappointed with me, when I did something stupid. That's what they were supposed to do.

You've heard the "It takes a village to raise a child" theory. That didn't enter my mind when I went out on that porch today. The kid technically committed vandalism and I called him on it, mostly so I didn't have to move the tree back myself. I'd like to think the kid was raised well enough by his own parents that he did the right thing when I asked him to put the tree back. There are some parents that are offended if that would have happened to their kid, no matter how wrong the kid was. There are some parents who would have said nothing to that kid being a punk. I hope if and probably when my boys are being a little punkish, some adult calls them on it, and as long as the adult does so within normal bounds (as I believe I did -- I know kids this age can be morons, I was angrily direct but not raging, and I did thank him), I won't object and maybe be thankful.

Still, it astounds me when I sound so adult. I'm wondering when I am going to start shaking fists at teenagers.

The two boys walked back by the house on their way home, and I noticed them looking over, maybe making fun of me, maybe wondering if I was ready to come back outside. I could only think they were lucky Wife didn't catch them ...

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