The weather’s been so unseasonably warm recently that not long ago the boyfriend and I decided to take a walk in the sun down to our nearest pub for a swift half. After getting a couple of bevvies at the bar we wandered outside, he went ahead to claim a table carrying our drinks and I followed after with the buggy and baby in tow. Now the beer garden is up 6 or so pretty steep steps and without Mark to help me I proceeded to take Seth in his buggy up the steep steps backwards. All mums (and some dads) will feel my pain on what an absolute pain in the arse this is. Anyway, that’s not my issue. My issue is that 13 (yes I counted them!) 13 able bodied people (apart from 1 old, big guy who was with 1 old, big dog and a pair of walking sticks so he is excused!) so 12 able bodied people all just sat there and watched me struggle, dragging baby strapped in a buggy, backwards up the steps, bumping all over the shop. At no point did even one of them offer to help. Why?? I have no idea.
The other day an old guy in a wheelchair cut in front of me in the queue at Morrisons. I cursed him under my breath in true British style, not wanting to actually engage in confrontation. But when that same old guy was trying to twist round in his chair to deposit his basket on the stack, I immediately offered to help and took it from him. Now, those in the know will confirm that I am no saint but helping those in need is human nature right? No, apparently not. Apparently it’s human nature not to practise any manners, to be selfish and self-promoting, to not see the struggles of others and to not feel compelled to do anything about it.
This is not the world I want to raise my child into. I want him to know old people deserve respect whether they earn it or not. To assume that what a policeman says is gospel without answering back. To help anyone he can where he sees the opportunity to. To know that doing something for someone else gives you a personal satisfaction that money can’t buy. I don’t want him to stand by and watch people struggle when most of the time just the offer of help is enough.
When I was pregnant I thought so much about preparing to have a baby, I kind of forgot that I was actually going to have a human who would learn how to be a decent human from me and my example. It’s one hell of a responsibility, but that’s part of parenting, perhaps the most important part.
So, parents, shall we all teach our kids not to be detached, disrespectful assholes? You teach your kids and I’ll teach mine and the world will be a better place. Simple.