By: Mia L. Hazlett
“It takes a village to raise a child.” I’ve heard that my entire life. I’m not exactly sure who said it, but recently I’ve been leaning on my Village to help me raise my two daughters. Now the one rule my children know when it comes to the village: everyone has the right to discipline (spank, yell, time-outs, whatever they feel comfortable with). So it raises the question, with so little village-raising going on in society now, would I ever step out of my own village and enter another one uninvited? Yup! But only if provoked. If you choose to keep you and yours in your village and out of mine, we will have no problems.
The thing is, I love kids. I don’t want to know about a kid being hurt, sick, neglected. My heart can’t take that stuff. Now that’s not to say there aren’t bad kids out there. I said it. If I’ll call my own kids losers, what makes you think I won’t call someone else’s kid bad? They might be bad, but it’s not their fault. They’ve been raised that way. For me, bad parenting produces bad kids. For that matter sometimes good parents have bad kids. And mind you, my definition of bad is disrespectful. I can tolerate a kid in public crying because the mother has to run errands, the food store is the last stop on the list, and they are hungry and tired. I’ve been that mom with that kid. I get it. See, I’m talking about the bad-ass little kid who’s throwing a tantrum and the parent says nothing. The question, “who should I slap the parent or the kid?” always pops into my head.
I remember grocery shopping one time after work. I didn’t have my kids and had to hurry to daycare to pick them up. I had watched this mother struggle with her unruly child and done a good job of avoiding them throughout the store. But unfortunately, with limited time and with them being in the shortest line, I stood behind them. The mother stood in front of the cart unloading groceries and the boy stood between his cart and my cart. The first time, I thought it was an accident. The second time, I knew it was on purpose and gave him “The Look.” Unfortunately his mother had never introduced him to “The Look.” The third time he pushed my cart into me, I took it upon myself to leave my village and welcome myself into his. Holding my cart firmly, “Lil’ boy, you do it one more time and it’s gonna be the last thing you do.” I then smiled with “The Look.” This time “The Look” worked because he went over to the little bench and silently sat until his mother finished. The cashier laughed and said he couldn’t stand that little boy. I told him, it’s not him, it’s his mother.
There was also a time my friend and I went out to dinner with our kids. We were seated outside, where there was a sandbox for the kids. My view faced the sandbox and my friend and her kids sat with their backs facing it. Throughout the time there, a little bad-ass boy continually harassed other children by kicking and throwing around sand. Parents would run up and take their kid out and look for the boy’s parents. DumbAss #1 and DumbAss #2 were sitting at a table far away from the sandbox eating and cooing over baby brother in La-La Land.
Let me reiterate, you don’t mess with my village, I won’t mess with your village. Unfortunately, Bad-ass didn’t know the unspoken rules. He picked up sand and threw a handful of dirt in my daughter’s face. She looked at him and told him to stop it. The reason I didn’t jump up right away and throw my glass at the kid is because I wanted to see if I had done well in teaching my daughter conflict resolution. She and her sister told him to stop it. He didn’t, but threw another handful of sand and now began to kick it on her. Unfortunately for BadAss, my daughter’s next word was, “Mommy.” It was on! I didn’t fight the little heathen (Lord knows I wanted to.) I didn’t even get up. I simply shouted from my seat, “Lil’ boy cut it out and don’t do it again,” along with “The Look.” This time, DumbAss #1 jumped up to get him, and I glared down DumbAss#2.
The funny part of all this, you would have thought I had thrown dirt at my friend and her daughters. She was trying to hush and correct me with some, “midtown and ghetto and hood…blah,blah,blah” saving-face talk. She sat mortified with her family, while I continued to sip on my tea completely content as I watched the StupidAss family rush and leave. They needed to leave and not have their kid in public. They were failing him, but the funny thing, so was everyone else that kept removing their kid from the sandbox. Because Bimbo Mama behind me was saying to her husband, “It’s about time someone said something. It’s going to take me all night to get all of this sand out of her hair.” Apparently there is something about midtown, where you are not allowed to protect or stick up for your children. Her bimbo-self went and took her daughter out of the sandbox about 10 minutes before that because BadAss dumped a bucket of sand over her head. What lesson did she just teach her daughter?
You see in my case, my kid tried to tell him to stop. I’ve instilled conflict resolution within my children because I know I’m not always going to be around. First they need to try and handle it themselves. She did that. Then she called for mommy. Second, if the person doesn’t stop, find a responsible adult. She did that. Mommy stepped in and wanted to wipe that sandbox with that boy’s momma’s face, but I didn’t. Because the lesson I taught my children, don’t ever let yourself get bullied! Unlike the lesson Bimbo Mama’s daughter brought home, my kids learned, if you do something wrong in public, your whole family is going to have to leave, I still get to play. Because no kid is going to bully me or my family. I don’t care if we’re in upscale Midtown or the around-the-way grocery store, if you’re not going to discipline your kid, I will!!!