Friday, April 24, 2015


When a kid jaywalks while I'm driving, I veer out of their way, toss a smile, and hope they get where they're going. When an adult jaywalks? I kind of want to kill them. Oh, come on. You've felt the same. It's very straightforward. Kids, mercy. Adults, malice. The only time my conscience comes into conflict is when I see kids and adults jaywalking at the same time.
You know, as in parents.
Last year, my friend Ashlin needed to show up early at the middle school for a service project. My high school's right down the street and I already needed to go down that road at that time, so I dropped her off. Between our two lovely schools is an elementary. The thing about elementary schools is they start later than both middle and high schools. On my way back, I saw a mother and a little boy with a backpack standing patiently in the middle of the road. She was holding his hand. With three schools and a busy intersection on one road, we've got a ridiculous amount of crosswalks and a streetbridge. But no, here is his mom, leading him by the hand across multiple lanes of traffic.
Today I was cruising down the street on my way to work, nothing but green lights ahead, and here are two women standing in the yellow lane. One of them had a toddler in her arms. They were nowhere near a crosswalk or street corner and must've decided to cross it directly rather than look for a better place.
Even though I had a green light, I stopped, waiting to see if they would cross, but they didn't until I finally started moving. What bothered me wasn't that they were in my way, but that they thought it was okay to carry a toddler through several lanes of traffic.
I live on a very slow street. We're the last stretch of civilization before my suburban neighborhood gives way to cattails and thorn trees. There's no through traffic. Still, my mom always taught me to look both ways and never cross in the middle of a busy road. Most parents do that, I think. I know a seventeen month old baby who will play right up to the edge of her lawn, say "street", and stop at the curb. It's universally accepted that young children shouldn't cross streets-unaccompanied.
Was that toddler safer with two women guarding him than he would've been alone? Yes, but he's learning a horrible lesson. There's this idea that nothing is wrong for children if they're supervised. That an edgy movie won't affect them if a parent's sitting on the next cushion over. But every competent parent I know teaches by example, not by throwing out hypocritical rules.

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