Don’t Be An Asshole, Be A Good Neighbor.
Neighborhoods. Communities. Parenthood.
Last week a woman in Winnipeg got a visit from Child and Family Services regarding an anonymous complaint of her children being unsupervised outside. You can read the full article here.
The woman, who’s kids are 10, 5 and 2, let them play in her fenced backyard while she watched from inside the house.
Now obviously to me, the complaint was unfounded and simply just stupid. Unfortunately for this mom, who made a reasonable decision that her 10 year old was responsible enough to be “in charge” of the little ones with her close by and within sight for help if necessary, this complaint will be permanently on record. Once a complaint is made, it can’t be undone.
What a total crock of the worst smelling shit.
This whole thing just reeks of a total loss of community. Not to mention every parent in town is now re-evaluating their behavior with their children.
The biggest and most glaring issue to me is why this anonymous complainant made an official complaint in the first place. It’s just so telling of the fact that in many cases we don’t get to know our neighbors anymore. We live next door to people that we don’t take the time to know or care about. If there had been a real sense of community where this mom lived, someone would have either known her well enough to know she was close by and the kids were safe, or felt like it was ok to knock on the door and make sure she knew the kids were outside alone.
Either one of those things would have been way more productive than calling CFS.
The other thing that really burns my ass is that another person feels so fucking superior that they think their opinion and judgement trumps the call of the mom involved. Sometimes, you just need to mind your own fucking business. These weren’t “at risk” kids. These were kids who were learning to be a little more independent, something this next generation is going to have to figure out at some point.
Furthermore, what even constitutes as “unsupervised”? If I let my kids play downstairs while I am having a shower or folding laundry in the bedrooms, they can find a whole lot of trouble. Should you call the cops?
Do I have to be in direct line of sight? Do I have to have one foot or other appendage firmly implanted up my kids ass? Do I have to be arms length away?
Do I have to be “spotting” them under a play structure?
Can I turn my fucking head and watch my other kids at the other side of the park, or should I now be tethering them together so that I can watch them both at the exact same time?
I am so sick of hearing about shit like this. Can’t we just get to know each other and look after one another? Can’t we have enough respect for the people that live in our communities that we take the time to build meaningful relationships?
I am that mom at the park who talks to ALL the moms. I want to get to know the other parents and hopefully build friendships with them as our kids go to school together. I want my children to be friendly and include all the kids when they play. I want to see kids playing outside together and laughing and being real, not just sitting in front of a computer or tv screen with make believe characters.
Yesterday, we went to the park and there was a large family playing soccer. And my little Destroyer toddled right over to destroy their game.
And you know what? There was a Dad and five kids. All of them were older than her except one little guy similar in age to her. And without hesitation, without any sort of “what the fuck does this kid want?” they just invited her to play. She happily ran all over the field, and every so often, someone would pass her the ball, and cheer her on as they let her run the field with the ball and score. It was a very tender moment, and one I will never forget.
And it made me sad to see one other child and their parent walk past this impromptu game of “scrub soccer” with their ball and play by themselves. I’m not sure if they just wanted to practice alone, or if they assumed they wouldn’t be welcome. It made me sad to think the latter was true.
I want my kids to grow up in a place where they have friends close by and I can watch from the window or front lawn as they play street hockey or basketball or ride bikes together. It’s called being kids. My kids don’t need to play with me as much as they need to play with other kids.
And I shouldn’t have to worry about some uptight douche-canoe calling the cops on me because I’m letting my kids play “unsupervised”. Part of the life long supervision I am providing to my kids will be to teach them some appropriate levels of independence as I see fit. And that doesn’t just happen at a magic age.
So people, instead of being a fucking hero and tattle taleing on some undeserving family, why don’t you try building the community around you? Instead of tearing it down through anonymous complaints and assholery, throw a BBQ for your neighbors and get to know one another. Be active in each others lives and take care of one another.
Don’t be an asshole.