Two somewhat similar experiences last week made me think if it was something in me that needed to change or was it just ‘them’. By them I mean the older generation – who are at least two decades older than me. Eerily, both these incidents had similar themes: trying to tell off my 10-year old daughter in my very presence. The first was when she was surrounded, like everyday, by her favourite stray dogs in the park. I was standing next to her. The gentleman who was on his evening stroll stopped by and told her to not to play with them as they could bite. The second gentleman happened to honk his car horn so loud while we were turning on the road on our bi-cycles that my daughter in panic applied the brakes there and then. He then happened to stop his car and roll down his co-passenger side window to tell me to tell my daughter to never apply brakes while turning .
In both the above incidents I snapped at them, albeit politely (at least I thought I was polite). To the first one I said that she wasn’t playing with the dogs. Technically, she wasn’t ‘playing’ with them . They were just around her and she happened to like that. And to the second one, I said that if he didn’t honk his horn that loud she wouldn’t have stopped the cycle suddenly. The first fellow just left without any further advise and continued with his walk while the second one stopped his car again after we resumed on our bi-cycles to tell me that he only stopped by to tell me this as he would have told his daughter. I said a ‘thank you’ with an undertone of irritation.
Was it necessary for them to give their two bits when they knew a parent was present with the child or was I overreacting? Was it to tell me indirectly that I didn’t perform my parental duties properly and needed somebody with many years of more experience to tell me that? Or is it that that generation in particular believes in speaking its mind irrespective of the reaction and pass on their years of wisdom just to anyone and anywhere?
Yes I did feel sorry for the way I reacted. It also later on made me imagine that perhaps that they didn’t have a happy home where they lived with their grandchildren but couldn’t tell them off due to family limitations (evil daughters-in-law? rude grandchildren?). My imagination just took off to another level altogether as I perhaps wanted to cover up my guilt.
All in all, I am not claiming that I make a great and a perfect mother but really I can do without strangers, even in the garb of old age, giving me or my child (in my presence) a piece of advise when it is absolutely not required.
(illustration courtesy: thumbs.dreamstime.com)