WHEN PARENTS ARE THE PROBLEM
Maybe it's not that big a deal, but here goes...
Jack, Ella and I went to the children's park at Washington Park yesterday (my heart is actually beating faster right now thinking about it) for a little morning play in the SUN. This dad and his 4 kids ranging from about 2yo to 12 yo or so where there. The dad is running around the play structure, playing hide and go seek with his kids... so, he knocked over one kid in his quest to hide quickly and almost knocked Ella over, I figured - well, he's having fun and made a mistake I just need to be heads up if I he approaches again.
Then, he gets out a football, not a real leather one, but not a Nerf, either - it was hard plastic. He proceeds to have his kids "go long" into/on the play structure (packed with mostly kids under 4yo and their parents) and chastises them when they drop the ball. As one would expect, balls are dropped/overthrown, one kid is hit and fellow parents are looking at each other like what's up with this guy. One of the kids proceeded to throw the ball back to dad and missed, dropping the ball into the sand box where Ella was playing. The ball did not hit her, but narrowly missed her.
I had had it at this point, I told the guy he needed to stop throwing the ball into the play structure and that he should go down to the soccer field where he could run drills with his kids all day long. He was fine with this - didn't act pissy at all - pleasant surprise. Then, and this kind of broke my heart... Ella wanted to slide, so we go over to the metal slide where there is room for two kids to go down at once. The dad's youngest (around 2yo) was on one side of the slide and Ella was on the other side, the kid asked if she wanted to race. She's didn't really get it and just slid down, the kid slid first and at the bottom of the slide, looked at her and said, "I won!" The dad declared "good job son, good job." I was just like, what, huh?? A competitive 2 yo?? It broke my heart because, this boy was sweet, I could tell and I just pray that mommy balances out dad, or excels in sports or has the cajones to tell dad he wants to be in the drama club.
I know I am making alot assumptions/generalizations, and I actually believe that a competitive spirit is useful in life. I played sports all through HS and part of college - it's motivating, collaborative, but having a 2yo get congratulated for beating another 2yo seems extreme - no 2 yo should be the "loser" in any scenario, life will teach them about winning and losing soon enough. Anyway, there is not really a message, question or lesson learned here - just a venting and well, I guess a reminder as to how much our kids model our behavior good or bad.