Teachable Moments – #1LinerWeds

When I was a child – yes, this is going to be one of those posts – we didn’t have “learning or teachable moments.” We had rules and expectations, and when those expectations weren’t met, it wasn’t a soft and reassuring voice that I remember. I remember the message, and perhaps that’s the important thing. My father never hit either of his children, but wall paper would peel itself off the wall roll itself up and hide in a corner when he yelled. He also mixed in a variety of colorful language in combinations that defy modern imagination.

What has me thinking about this subject? I thought about writing this the moment it happened, but a better one-liner came up. Later, a blog post by Laura, over at RFTM reminded me of the incident. I added the link to Laura’s post to my notes for this post, which I had planned to publish “soon.” Something else happened that was better for One-Liner Wednesday and that note sunk to the bottom of the pile. Digital piles are no better than real piles. Recently, I read something, somewhere, that reminded me of this subject, so here we go:

I was returning from a business trip. It had been a day that started early with a long ride to the airport, included a long layover and resulted in me arriving home at the other end of darkness. Bradley (BDL) is a small airport that doesn’t have any late-night departures. Returning at night means walking past locked, dark shops, a vacant TSA and an unmanned information booth. McDonald’s is open, and I have taken advantage of that fact on several occasions. I should have stopped for a cheeseburger on this night.

As I was heading toward Baggage Claim, a young girl with a little pink roll-aboard suitcase scooted past me, turned and ran back behind me. The first time this happened, I thought about how wonderful it is that children can remain happy after a delayed flight. The second time it happened, I had to slow down a little, and I thought “someone should be holding this child’s hand.” The third time it happened, she smacked me in the knee with her suitcase and I almost tripped. I turned to see if this child actually had adult guardians. The mother looked at me with a kids-will-be-kids smile, turn to her daughter and said:

“Harmony, this is a learning moment. What should you be doing?”

What the frolic?

No, Harmony, this is NOT a learning moment. This is, as my father would have said, the point at which you apologize to the nice man and step your dumb a** back to your parents!

Oh, if only I could say those things in public…


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

73 thoughts on “Teachable Moments – #1LinerWeds

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  1. A learning moment indeed. 😡
    First, let me say this… I’m a tree hugging, liberal progressive. But new age parenting? You can have it. My cousin’s child was a spoiled rotten terror because of it. I watched him … at 8 years old… have a full blown melt down that ended with him rolling on the floor screaming at the top of his lungs in a raging tantrum. His parents reaction? “Oh, look how well he’s expressing his emotions. He’s really in touch with his feelings.”
    Give me strength!
    🙄

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “In touch with his feelings?” Give me a break. There were so many ways those parents could have handled this – all of them involved an apology, but that did not happen. I have flown a lot, and I know it’s tough on kids. I know they want to express themselves, but there’s a time and a place and a right way and a wrong way. At least that’s how I was taught.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, Dan. I can only imagine what my hubs would have said. Learning moments indeed. Every generation thinks they can do things better than their parents; and while in some instances that may be true, the total abondonment of any kind of admonishment or discipline for children who don’t yet even fully understand the words that are being babbled at them, has been the worst mistake ever. Honestly, I started conditioning my children before they could walk and talk about self control and respect for others. I could take those boys anywhere. Their friends’ parents used to ask if we could trade children! But they weren’t afraid of us. Well, they were the most afraid of hubs’ hours long lectures should they do something really bad. The last two generations as a general rule, not everyone of course, has decided it is more important ( and much easier) to be a friend to their children than to parent them, which is a tough and often thankless job, but a job it is, and like all jobs it has its beautiful, perfect moments and those that make us want to run for the hills. I’m glad she didn’t bust your knee!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oddly enough, we weren’t afraid of our dad. He never went off for something that was new to us. However, if you knew how you should behave, you needed to behave in that manner. Respect was key among the things you extended to others. We ended up being friends with our daughter, but not by letting her rule the day. Kids need to know where the boundaries are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel responsible parentung leads to adult friendships with our children. Our boys never complain about how they were raised and we had strict rules about behavior and responsibility but we also had fun and allowed freedom of ecoression at appropriate times.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne – I don’t know why it’s so hard to apologize, We aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes, it’s not a crime, but mistakes should be acknowledged and addressed when they affect other people. (This from a guy who has apologized after bumping into mannequins in a store).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I do miss business travel – not. :-) The word, moderation, comes to mind. Yes, maybe spanking and soap weren’t the answer, but counting 1-2-3 doesn’t work either. The other word that always surfaces is respect because there appears to be a lack of it for other people. Many children today are encouraged to do their own thing, and in group settings they just stare at their phone or game system and ignore everyone else. Of course, I’m thinking that we’re seeing a lot of results of this type of parenting, and it’s not boding well for society. Looks like Maddie has settled in for her winter routine with Dad. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We made it a point to never criticize other parents, but in some cases, someone should. We’ve argued in favor of self-expression, in settings where a child can be a child, but we taught our daughter how to behave in public.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have opened my mouth a couple of times about ‘run-amok kids’, but not sure it got through to the parents. One looked embarrassed, and the other looked agitated, but neither spoke to their child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have talked to parents when I couldn’t avoid their children. I once made a man switch seats with me on a plane. He and his wife and one child were in the row in front of me. His two uncontrollable nut-jobs were next to me. But, you’re right, I don’t think it made a lasting impression.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So agree, Dan! You should see (or hear) some of what goes on in the bistro part of our shop, although children aren’t always the ones with the bad behavior. I’m reading an interesting book right now called “Sit Down and Shut Up” about the experiences of a substitute teacher in the poor parts of LA. One of his main premises is that there needs to be discipline in the school and students (and parents) need to be held accountable for their behavior. Schools have all too often gone in the opposite direction to terrible effect on both students and teachers. I know that I would disagree with him on many issues, but I’m with him whole-heartedly this!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet – that sounds like an interesting book. I used to volunteer in our schools for career education in technology. I refused to go back to one class where the teacher let several kids just be rude. I reminded her that I had used 1/2 of a vacation day to be there and that I thought I deserved to be treated better. The behavior didn’t stop until I embarrassed one the students with an answer he wasn’t expecting to an inappropriate question.

      Like

      1. Where this man is teaching, students routinely curse and try to intimidate teachers, or even attack them. His initial rule was “No cursing in class” and that made a huge difference. These days, too many schools are allowing students to be out of control to the detriment of everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve heard parents talking to their children like this and it drives me crazy. If I had done that in an airport, my mom and dad would not have made it a “teaching moment.” No, they would have told me to knock it off (in no uncertain terms) and I would have been made to apologize. I don’t have children, so perhaps it’s not my business, but parents really need to be parents when their kids misbehave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I would have been made to apologize long before banging my suitcase into another person. My father wasn’t one to apologize for his children (not that these people did that, either). You don’t have to have children to have expectations as to what goes on in public,

      Like

  7. “What the frolic?” I am so going to use that!!! I think that was absolutely a teaching moment. Another perfect example of how children are being taught that there are no consequences for their actions. I know exactly how that would have gone down with my Father and it would have been a lesson I never forgot, ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Thanks Pam. This child was old enough for the teachable moment to have occurred long before this flight. We began learning how to act in public as soon as we were old enough to walk around on our own. I remember being told, before leaving for an event, what the appropriate behavior was and was not.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So true! Kids appreciate rules and discipline (maybe not at the time they are receiving it, but eventually). It’s our job as adults and parents to teach our kids how to behave in the world, how to be considerate of others. Some parents, sadly, abdicate that responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That would be the point at which I make eye contact with the child and smile one of my patented child-chilling smiles. Apparently, I have a smile that reminds children that scary clowns look like ordinary people under the makeup. But they’re still scary clowns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Teagan. Yes, the kid was more like fingernails on a chalk board than harmony, but, I let this one slide.

      We have a couple of squirrels who seem to feel the need to pack away the peanuts and then still forage in the yard. I don’t think this guy is going to starve.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, Dan–I totally busted up over your comment. WTH. I don’t know which is worse–kids like that or the parents of kids like that. And you give them ‘the look’ and it still doesn’t register. On a bright note–your photo captions are a riot. Uh, yeah. The squirrels are most definitely bulking up.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow! Teaching moment indeed, but apparently lost on the parents. Teaching is a dead-end street if no one learns. Our girls were brought up to be respectful, considerate, and polite….to everyone. They could be a trial at home sometimes (which was immediately addressed), but never had a problem when in the company of others, whatever the occasion.

    Maddie looks like she’s looking forward to a lot of couch time with dad. MiMi seems to be running out of patience with you for always disturbing her private time. And the squirrels? Just keep a really big supply of peanuts on hand. Those squirrels are spoiled Dan. Hmmmm, I wonder how that happened? :+}

    Nice shots of blue sky through naked trees. Sure looks like winter’s-a-coming! 😡
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, I just had a thought. What a perfect time this would have been for the “Big Guy” to be with you. He would’ve bellowed to the parents, “YOU ARE NOT HELPING!”
      🔹 Ginger 🔹

      Liked by 3 people

    2. All of the squirrels are not so, um, healthy, Ginger. There are two that I am aware of. We have some who actually seem skinny.

      Our daughter was well behaved in public, as was I. I think that comes with having respect for other drummed into your head.

      I love being able to see through the trees in the early stages of winter. It gets old, but by then, I’m ready for spring. I think winter is on the way.

      Like

  12. Harmony sounds like a terror to me, but there you go. I grew up with so many rules that I wouldn’t have even contemplated running around like that. Guess it’s obvious that there were no teachable moments in my young life. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Dan – if only … and I do on occasions make sure those who aren’t doing the right thing take stock – but quite often I sidestep and walk by. Would like to stand up and be counted … sometimes it’s easier to be passive but have vile thoughts … kiddo with pink suitcase needs a good dressing down … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  14. BUT YOU CAN! You CAN say those things in public. Especially because precious little Harmony will most likely not hear an adult voice like that until she gets to college and by then it’s too late…
    Oh, and thanks for the tag. I felt every single bit of this story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laura. I felt a little extra cautious being in an airport. Not a place to start trouble these days. I imagine this little girl getting a hard wake-up one day, where someone like you adds “bless her heart.”

      Like

  15. Lol! What the frolic! is my next one liner 😂

    Mom definitely should have told her daughter to apologize then that would have been a real teachable moment.

    The gallery is nice as always. The pics with clouds are bluer than blue. Looks relaxing 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Looks relaxing until you realize that I’m tethered to a dog that would rather sniff every molecule in the cold breeze than pee.

      Yeah, mom missed an opportunity. This wasn’t the time to let little Harmony figure it out for herself. Sometimes, you need to be an adult.

      Like

  16. LOL What the frolic? indeed!
    By today’s standards, we all had abusive parents. Harmony. Hehe. I’m sure being hangry didn’t help, but I don’t think the cheeseburger would have changed your opinion, cause I’m full up o chicken n’ rice and I was right there with you. Expectations. Yeah. Harmony needed a stern word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right about our parents. My dad would have said what he would have said, and today, he would be the one getting funny looks. Then again, I never hit anyone with a suitcase.

      Being made to apologize to someone drives home the fact that there are consequences to our actions. Not horrible, but difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I had to laugh at the mother’s response. A learning moment? Really? But people have strange ways of raising their children these days, sometimes with warped philosophies like “don’t apologize to anyone for your choices/life” without explaining the circumstances under which an apology might (or might not) be necessary. Where I live you will find some very rude kids, vulgar too, and unapologetic. Spoiled kids who had probably never needed anybody else apart from their parents, or anything they couldn’t get. I once heard a little girl shouting a very unspeakable word to another kid she had disagreed with in the playground. That girl’s mother worked for a radio station and she used to host a show on love and relationships. She had a very a nice voice. But after that incident, I never listened to her show again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The kids around here span a wide range of social skills, but when you meet their parents, it’s understandable. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      I don’t understand parents who simply fail to teach their children how to interact with other people. We were taught to respect adults when we were children, and that carried over to respecting peers when we became adults.

      I wouldn’t listen to that woman either.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sigh – disciplining children is a difficult subject, because it depends on the child. What works for one, does not work for the other. But …they do need to know and apologize when they hurt someone else, even they may not have intended to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, there is no one way to raise children, but this was mishandled. Even if the woman wanted to approach this as a teaching opportunity, she should have taught her daughter that you apologize when something like this happens.

      Like

  19. Oh Dan I so feel your frustration – the real fun game is to be where I am with 3 kids between 7 and 12 years old.
    I parent in a way probably closer to your dad – but my kids live in a world where their peer group have “learning moments”. It is a very fine line we tread as parents, wanting to raise our kids with manners, respect and a sense of right and wrong, while enabling them understand and survive the world they have been landed in. A world where “Harmony” (Who the frolic names their kid Harmony anyway??) gets her own way all the time.
    Very hard to explain to a 10 year old that they will benefit more in the long run from experiencing the embarrassment and fear of having to walk up to the “nice older man” and apologise for running into him, when they see “Harmony” (and her parents) sticking 2 fingers up at the world – and seemingly getting a better bounce out of life for doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you for this comment. I don’t envy you your task. I guess each generation has the peer issues to deal with. We seemed to raise our daughter differently than many of her peers, but she turned out to be a pretty good adult. A lot ot the lessons of my youth were not understood by me until I was much older. I am grateful that my parents acted like adults.

      I don’t think respect for others should ever go out of style. I think it’s always a good lesson. Your kids will survive, and they will have an edge in the future. At some point, this stuff matters.

      Like

  20. All that yelling didn’t teach you anything? Boy, it sure taught me something. Yep, I had the same kind of father, although I do remember being spanked once by him. I was four years old. I had moved a chair to the stove and was standing on it. I learned that four-year-olds and stoves don’t go together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember being tossed out of danger in situations like that, probably with less concern about where I landed than he would normally have had.

      I generally try not to yell at other people’s kids. I’ve been know to speak to the parents, but it was late and at least she stayed away.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The level of parenting today is at all time low. I am not saying that there are no good parents but the percentage is low. I can go on and on with this. When I was working in a restaurant, a 2-year kid sneaked out of the AC section and tumbled down the white marble stairs (14 stairs). The parents had no clue whatsoever of their boy crying like a hell downstairs. Just a month ago, Sarah found an abandoned kid in the movie hall and we couldn’t find her mother. Later we handed her to the movie hall authorities and they found her mother watching a movie in the front seat. The kid just walked out of the hall and she had no clue. Also, parents gift motorcycles to 13-year olds now. Of course, that’s illegal, but they do that. One of the boys in my neighborhood got crushed under a trailer truck when trying to race on his bike. The police should have arrested the parents but nothing. I mean what kind of parents are these? Back in my days, my mother would control me with her eyeballs. My father was lenient but both my parents demanded full discipline and manners from me. I wasn’t allowed to step on the road without permission, let alone take my bicycle. I cannot talk when someone is talking. I have to ask if I want to visit my friend’s place and return on time. This might seem like a bondage to kids today because the lifestyle has changed and so is the level of parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know things have changed, but I think a lot of the lessons we were taught still apply. I yelled at my neighbor’s daughter, who took her father’s truck on the road (she was 14 at the time), but mainly because I was worried about her getting hurt or hurting someone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I will bite off my typing fingers from wanting to tell Harmony’s mother what will happen down the road if she continues to pretend that her parenting in public is a good thing. When I have a Harmony parent in my class, I step right in, and typically they immediately return to ‘normal’ and are so grateful for my help. Underneath, they really don’t know what to do. Okay, I didn’t bite off my typing fingers enough. Apologies. Of course as a stranger, there was nothing you could do. Great post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. I was worried that you might tell me I’m “not getting it.” It was very late, and the conversation did give me a chance to work on my lead. By the time we got to baggage claim, Harmony was running around again (but on the other side of the belt). I’m glad to hear some parents have you to give them some guidance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dan, you absolutely got it!! I was biting my nails to not type a million words on your blog, because I wanted to rip into Harmony’s mother. It’s hard to step into the middle of a situation. I’m so glad I can give parents guidance.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. I once got told off by a parent because I told her kid to stop bashing a plastic playhouse door into my kid in a bistro playroom. I’d waited for her to do something but she was too busy prattling to her friend. Whatever. Do your job, then.

    In your situation, I’d have had a hard time not putting on my teacher voice and making a clear suggestion to darling Harmony about more appropriate behaviour. I admire your restraint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather. It was late and making a fuss in an airport these days is never good. I just shook my head at the mother’s reaction. At that point, it wasn’t the child I wanted to yell at.

      I agree with your decision in the playroom.

      Liked by 1 person

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