Friday, July 02, 2010

Respect - by Robin

I was driving through town tonight, and traffic was particularly horrific on the main road.

Why?  I couldn't figure it out, and I wanted to get be there to receive Seth from camp when he got dropped off by the bus.

We had survived the tornado that shockingly hit us last week and wreaked havoc, including many, like myself, losing power.   I was so very grateful when we regained our power after two nights of sleeping without A/C, lights, television, computers...not to mention having to throw out food.

So, the traffic today wasn't due to that.  The storm mayhem in town was resolved.

Today, a man driving in front of me, gave me the finger twice when I beeped him once for stopping short  to talk to someone.  That was after he made a really quick and crazy u-turn in front of me.  I'm guessing that perhaps he was lost...but did he have to give me the finger...and twice?!

I drove a short distance behind him after that (had no choice), and when he came upon a parking lot he planned to turn in to, he deliberately stopped and sat in his car ..looking at me through his rearview if to say "screw you.  I'm going to make you wait here now."

I ignored him.  I refused to play into his obnoxious game.  This was so beyond the situation at hand.  This was a driver looking to take his frustration out on someone.  And, I wasn't going to be the one. 

Eventually he turned into the lot, and I went on my way.  I must admit, I was mildly shaken up by the incident.  Here I was basically minding my own business, and because I beeped him, he went off on a rampage.  It made me acutely aware of the fact that there are people in this world who are just plain jerks, and we have no control over their behavior.  But, we can control how we react to it.

I found myself wondering...what is his story?  Is he married or single?  Is he a father?  If so, what kind of role model is he for his child?  Does he unleash his anger on him?

And, I found myself thinking...did he realize who he gave the finger?  I know there was no reason for me to take it personally, but did it occur to him that I'm a nice person?!  Of course not...that was irrelevant at the time.

And, what about the fact that I'm a mom?  There is a car seat visible in my car...though my son wasn't in it at the moment. But, what if he was?  Would this man still have exhibited such behavior?  Doesn't the mere fact that someone is a mother command some level of respect?  Their child needs them to be there to love them.  Their child needs them to be safe and not preyed upon by rude people with a vendetta agenda.

Did this driver feel better afterwards?

Should I have laughed when he stopped in front of me?  Or was it best to ignore it?

All that said, it raised my consciousness of teaching goodness and respect to our children.  I've always felt this is important, but today's incident pushed my buttons, and it really rang home.

I would never want my son to behave that way  to another person.  Even if it were justified, what does rudeness get you in the end?

Children should be taught respect.  Respect for their parents.  Respect for elders.  Respect for others children.  Respect for animals.  Respect for authority figures.  And so on.

We may not always agree with people, but it doesn't mean they aren't worthy of respect at the end of the day. 

I will do my best to impart this lesson to Seth.  And, as he grows up, while he may at times get his buttons pushed, as I did, hopefully he'll learn to channel his reaction so that he doesn't add fuel to the fire.  Drivers like the man I encountered are living in the heat of the moment, and one day, he may just come up against someone like himself, and it won't be a pretty picture.

I can't shelter Seth from having experiences like this of his own, but in my heart, I do hope that my child will find the world a mostly welcoming place.  It pains me to think that he will have fights and challenges along the way as he develops, but that is inevitable.  It's all part of the growth process.

For now, I'm going to snuggle in bed with him, and be grateful that I don't encounter people like this on a daily basis, and that I was able to shrug it off in favor of focusing on the positive, supportive people I have in my life who I am immensely grateful for.

PS -- Last week, due to the power outage, I was unable to blog.

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Blogger Cara Meyers said...

I understand your abhorrence of a situation like you experienced. I was driving with my son in his car seat, when someone came along and began tailgating me. If I had to stop short for some reason, he most certainly would have hit my car. I calmly turned my signal on, pulled over to the side of the road and let him pass. My son asked why I had pulled over and stopped. I explained that the other car was driving so closely to the back of my car, that if I had to stop very quickly, the other car would have hit us. By pulling over, I was trying to avoid the other car from hitting my car.

My son understood what I told him. When I pull over, which I do from time to time, he always exclaims, "That car was driving too close, right Mommy?," and I always reply "yes," because I am modeling the appropriate thing to do.

I wish more parents...and humanity in general...behaved more like us.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Laura Houston said...

One thing I love about being a parent is I have started to think like see things on a greater plane.

Nicely done. Nicely written. It all ties in.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

Thanks Laura. I know what you mean. Being a parent does change your perspective on so much. Sometimes it even catches me offguard how I almost immediately get into my mommy hat.

7:55 AM  

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