Life was easier then, mostly because we had clear boundaries set for us. If we didn’t follow them we did some time in the corner, received a tongue lashing or got sent home in disgrace.
There was to be no hitting, spitting, throwing, bad words, temper tantrums, or screaming and if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you would say nothing at all. We learned to share our crayons, cookies, toys and our lunch.
We read, colored, ate glue, created Picasso like artwork with macaroni, played outdoors and learned how to play with one another.
An afternoon snack of graham crackers and milk was always followed by a little power nap. We didn’t know how good we had it.
This past month, I’ve encountered rude ignorant bigots, animal abusers, narcissistic humanity, people who want something for nothing and a parent who thought it was okay to drag her small child on her back through a parking lot while yelling demeaning obscenities. Leaves you wondering; what happened to the sandbox rules?
How was it so easy to forget common sense, good manners, consideration and kindness? I guess the better question would be: what can we do about it?
Prisons are teaming with humanity that broke the rules of decency and the laws of a civil nation. But what about all the others that are walking around babysitting your kids (and attaching firecrackers to the cat), sitting next to you in church (while silently spewing hatred for gays or Republicans – um, no relation) and traveling on your plane (while having morbid fantasies about the little girl in the next aisle)? Bigots, abusers and crazies look just like the rest of us. Scary, isn’t it?
So, I’m thinking about the whole island idea. You know, where we send everyone of questionable ilk off to an island as punishment for their behavior. Only let’s change it up a bit.
An island is a perfect sandbox. Staff it with Catholic nuns (rulers in hand). Regulate learning, recess, meals and activities. If after a certain amount of time you still want to drag a puppy behind your motorcycle, well, we will consider you ineligible for rehabilitation and drag you behind a motorcycle until you are no longer breathing (is it bad that I smiled when I wrote that sentence?).
Most of us had the same start. We went to pre-school, kindergarten, and so forth. I think that it takes a lifetime to learn hatred, bigotry and massive inconsideration. As kids, we could spot a bully a mile away. As adults, we tend to look the other way.
Recently we all saw the account on our nightly news of a bus monitor that was overweight and was brutally demeaned and harassed by elementary school kids. What if other children on that bus had stood up and tried to stop it? And why didn’t the bus driver pull over, stop the bus and stop the abuse? I recently viewed a video of a man slowly driving his motorcycle dragging a small dog from a rope down a busy street. No one tried to stop him. Not one person.
I’ve come to the conclusion that living takes courage; courage to speak up, stand up, put up and sometimes be willing to stand in the way.
As it turns out, it’s not the people who do wrong that frighten me. It’s the people who witness it and do nothing.
I’m thinking we would all be better off if we had little sandboxes in our backyards and were made to sit in them a half an hour a day to remember what is was we were taught as children. And then to live what we learned.
I double dare you.