Paradoxes: What We Say We Want but What We Strive to Change

But well-behaved dogs don’t spring fully formed from the womb. They must be actively raised — which is not easy. The same goes for kids.–Jeff Koyen

As I returned some books to the library this morning, I drove past a straggle of four-year-olds from a nearby preschool.  The first two kids in line held the teacher or caregiver’s hands.  The rest followed in two loosely constructed lines.  Each of the approximately sixteen kids carried a colorful plastic waterbottle as he or she trudged along.  One young lady  marched virorously, swinging her waterbottle in one hand and  sucking strongly on the thumb of her other hand.   You can make me carry this waterbottle but I’ll do what I want with my other hand.  So there!

We proclaim that we like the naturalness and spontaneity of  young children and puppies.  Yet we spend a lot of time and effort teaching them appropriate manners on how to eat, when to keep quiet, how to communicate when they need to relieve themselves and the appropriate place to do that, and how to behave in public. We  teach our dogs to walk on a leash, our children to hold our hands or remain in their strollers,  not to bark or scream, not to scratch their privates or sniff another dog’s butt.  Much of this is done in the name of safety and manners that will make the child or pup more socially acceptable and less  prone to disasterous accidents.

Why do we strive to change the very behavior we swear we like?  We praise owners and/or parents with well behaved offspring.  Yet we love to look at children and puppies gamboling around, being carefree and innocent.

We spend the child’s first year waiting for her to say her first word and take her first step.  We then spend the next seventeen years telling them to sit down and be quiet.

21 thoughts on “Paradoxes: What We Say We Want but What We Strive to Change”

  1. hahaha, I love that last line!!
    But on the serious side, when I was in retail I noticed the destructive behavior of undisciplined children and I still see in today when I’m out at the stores. The parents need to curb that enthusiasm sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree. No one wants to be around misbehaving, kids, dogs or parents. I realize that kids do not always behave-but if the parents try to deal with the behavior, I give them credits for trying to do the right thing.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I was a single parent with a one year old child. I encouraged individuality but insisted on the norms of social conformity. In short, I gave my son a lot of rope but it was by no means without end. Poorly behaved brats are a direct reflection of their parents (in my humble opinion). Today? Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not still raising kids….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Allen, I have been in too many nice (not family) restaurants where the parents feel that they should be able to enjoy their meal without any regards for how badly their offspring are behaving. I’ve seen kids shrieking, kicking, running around and almost causing the waitstaff to spill large trays of food and drinks, while the parents continue to enjoy their beverages and conversation–seemingly blind and deaf to the mayhem their hellspawn is inflicting on the customers and staff of the restaurant. Don’t get me started on more…..

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It is worse here in Italy where no parent ever dares to say no. I have seen children tell there parents to go to hell and much, much worse when they try to discipline their brats. Once I even interjected, “Porta fuori quel mostro!” My bad…. 😎

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I think parenting has changed a lot, I see parents on the phone while the kids are unsupervised. I remember a little girl ran over my foot with the truck she was playing with in a store, the girl shouted at me, “Get out my my way!” No apology just spoiled meanness. I saw her young mother looking at her phone the whole time and I told the mother to teach her daughter manners. The mother went ballastic on me. I taught my son since he was a toddler to say thank you, excuse me, sorry; I don’t know what what’s with parents nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry but not all surprised to hear that, Judy. Kids are often allowed to run roughshod and the parents blame everybody else for the problem. Public school teachers often have to face the same situation. Wish some of our politicians would quit setting such a tarnished role model for rude, self-centered behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that most politicians (on both sides) are bad role models, so inauthentic! I feel sorry for public school teachers, under-paid and over worked. But I think that something else happened to society in general, (rude adults raise rude kids?), maybe it’s a backlash of rebellion against old fashioned courtesy. In my neighborhood, the only people that say hello, smile and hold open doors are the older generation, the young seem so narcissistic, speeding by on electric scooters on the sidewalk or in their cars (nearly run over pedestrians and then laugh!) It’s happened to me several times, it’s really sad and strange. Were they all raised by monsters? Yikes.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. T’is a paradox between letting children grow to fulfill their own natures or try to gently convince them that consideration of others (whether sharing, manners, or cultural norms) is good too.l

      Liked by 1 person

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