To the point week of 12-11-08


I SAW AN INTERESTING COMMENT through the wire services earlier this week, and as I got past how absurd the statistic was, I began to think of the societal implications of what I was reading.

It talked about how many times police are called to places like “Chuck E. Cheese” in order to break up assaults and confrontations. It even went so far as to say that many establishments like this one have resorted to hiring guards to handle outbreaks of violence.

Not among the kids – among the parents.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

It’s also sad.

It’s a sad commentary that we live in a society where everyone is constantly putting themselves – and their children – first.

Now it’s okay to want your children to have the best of everything; but when parents are having throw downs in Chuck E. Cheese because their child doesn’t want to wait in line, then we have a problem.

Don’t think it happens in small communities like Switzerland County?

Ever been to events like the Easter Egg Hunt?

It’s much better now, but I remember a time when the horn would sound and the tape would drop, and mom and dad would drag their child through the courthouse yard, grabbing each and everything they say lying on the ground.

It would go into the child’s basket, and the melee would continue until the courthouse was picked clean – and junior had the most stuff.

I remember taking our oldest daughter to the egg hunt one year. Looking down at the ground, it was hard to find a place to put your foot, because there was so much. We heard organizers say that only children were allowed under the ropes, so when the horn sounded, we raised the tape and watched her totter in.

When she came back a few minutes later, after the feeding frenzy had subsided, her basket was empty.

She had picked up a few things, but after the ground was cleared, some children began to take things from other baskets.

After all – we have to find a “Golden Egg” and win a plastic prize.

Now things have gotten much better at our local hunt. In fact, the “no parent inside the tape” rule is now strictly enforced. This means that the children are the ones who get to wander around and collect things – a lot or a little – and then come back and show their treasures.

It’s really sad when parents around the country resort to violence or intimidation in order to get what they believe their child wants.

I wouldn’t go near “Black Friday” for any amount of money or any item; but there are yearly tales of people literally coming to blows over who’s going to get a certain item.

Is it really that important?

Isn’t there something more that we should be teaching our kids? Shouldn’t we be helping them understand that it truly is, “better to give than to receive”, and that we as adults have the mindset that it won’t kill junior to wait a couple of minutes in line to play on a piece of equipment or ride a ride.

They won’t be forever scarred if they don’t get the “GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip”; and even if they do, it will be at the bottom of the toy box in a couple of days, anyway.

In this season, perhaps one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is the gift of tolerance and patience and understanding.

It may not get us the exact item that we want, but I’m sure our children will gain much more in the long run.