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The Sandbox Rules

Remember pre-school?  I vote we send a few people back for a refresher course.

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.



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Mel Glenn - Raises an important question – can we learn civil behavior by following sandbox rules? Perhaps. Nice, a needed and necessary column. Reminds me of that book several years ago. Forgot the title, but something like, “All I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten.”

maureen - So what did you say to the poor excuse for a parent in the parking lot??

Shirlene - Something my sweet Grandmother used to say……Evil prevails when good men do nothing!!! I really believe that to be true. Where are those people who used to step in on others behalf and ask some questions and be a “good neighbor”? I can tell you this…. I am one….

Tammy - Hi Maureen, well, it appears you know me too well. Yes, I gave this poor excuse a piece of my mind (no worries-there’s plenty left) BUT, I was also of sound enough thinking to video her (thank you iPhone!), her car and her license plate. I then proceeded to call the police and filed a report and forwarded them my video. It bears noting that the parking lot was filled with people going to and fro. Not one of them said anything to help that child, whom, by the way had some pretty hefty asphalt cuts on her legs as a result of the dragging. Not pretty. Did I want to get involved? Hell no. I felt like I had no choice. Believe me, I don’t go looking for ‘stupid’. It just finds me. Thanks for the post…always great to hear from you!

Tammy - Hi Mel, I never read that book but am compelled now to look it up. I bet it’s an awesome read. Glad you enjoyed my rant. I thank you for stopping in and posting. I remain your biggest fan.

Tammy - Hi Shirleen, your grandmother was a smart cookie. History has proven to us that by ignoring an injustice we enable it. I think that a lot of people simply can’t find their courage. These are difficult times we live in. Standing for what is decent I would think, would be the easy part. Great hearing from you, thanks for the post!

Malissa - Bravo, good for you for fast thinking on the I phone video , not sure I would have thought to do that. The problem with stepping in is that someone may blow your head off, so I think a lot of people are scared to get involved.
I have called in drunk drives in hopes they would catch them. I just got my notice to do jury duty, yes I hate I have to miss work and but it’s worth it to put some slime bag away. I was on one a few yrs back and he was guilty for selling meth, we didn’t get to hear the sentence but I’m sure he was put away for a long time.
I agree with you but I would much rather be the other way around they stay in the states and we go to the beautiful island get everything for free , while there working there ass off to keep us on the island. LoL

Well I hope they take that child away from that mother, do you think you’ll have to go to court.

Thanks again for a good read. Malissa

Joan Cooper - But – but Tammy – we are not educated to be civilized. From Harvard University who has worked for decades to bring down the Constitution, to your local pre-school – do you think there are teachers there who understand what civilization is and could teach it?

The emphasis is on the wrong burner. It is now almost completely a ‘not my responsibility’ world. Back in the WW2 days, people became more human albeit they saw pictures of horrible cruelty almost daily It seems only Hardship brings out the civilized person. Why can’t it be taught? do you think those young girls on the bus knew what they were doing to that older lady who sat there allowing humiliation because she did not want to lose her job? I doubt it.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) made ballroom dancing a required part of their curriculum. When asked why (you have to ask?), they said…”it is not enough to have a skill…”

The boundaries are gone and the ethics are gone and it happened because women wanted to be “equal” and work and leave the home where they made what civilization we had.

There was a saying back then – “The man makes the living and the woman makes the Life”

You wonder if people really think what they are doing. A tradesperson I do business with was laughing one day and he told me his wife was being bothered by someone and she told this person…’my husband is a retired Marine, and he has been taught to kill people he doesn’t even know’. Is that a joke?

We glorify War and killing. That is how far we have come.

I want to tear down the Lincoln Memorial with my bare hands. The man who destroyed almost 1/4 of this nation and caused terrible terrible suffering to have his way and the very people the politicians said they were doing this for were left to starve. I want the White House to be a museum where people can go and enjoy it for a small entrance fee that goes to maintain it. I want the FED shut down. Then we can talk ‘civilization’.

I want women to realize it is they who hold this universe in their superior hands and live it.

I hOpe you are not too shocked. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Joan Cooper

Jeffrey Davidson - Tammy,
As always, well written.
I have to disagree with you on one point, I do not believe that it takes a lifetime to teach bigotry, hatred and massive inconsideration. Many people learn it by parental example (or lack of parental guidance) in little time at all. I have personally seen examples of all of those from people who are in elementary school. Of course, that is the extent of their lifetime.

Like you, I have tolerance for for the hatred bigotry and inconsideration in my life. I have intervened and said things that I think needed to be said.

I definitely like the idea of dragging the parent behind the motorcycle or the animal abuser behind the truck. Actually, when it comes to abuse, I like the idea of reciprocating in kind with a little extra as a reminder. You are responsible for your actions.

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?

Well, to start with, if it were “common sense,” then everyone would have it! Good manners, consideration and kindness I learned at home and school. Perhaps it should start with the parents. The parents should be made to suffer consequences for their children that abused the woman on the bus. Perhaps then they will take some responsibilities for their children’s actions.

Keep up with the humorous writing, the sensitive writing, the poignant writing and all of the other writing that you do. You are making a great contribution to the “pen being mightier than the sword!”

Jeffrey Davidson - Like you I have NO tolerance for the hatred, bigotry…


Joan Cooper - Nice Jeff. You are nothing unless articulate.

Parenting should be licensed. Pet handling should be licensed. Governments should be very small so they cannot cause big wars and enormous debts.

We have advanced techologically, but not humanely except in a small way. But until “it is not my responsibility” is taken out of our language, nothing will get better.

Joan Cooper

Kellie - Oh Tammy I found the video of the the heavy set lady being abused by snotty boys SO DISGUSTING. Finally, they are now getting around to handing out a punishment to the boys. The parents of the boys, while I believe they WERE embarrassed by the situation … but not willing to agree that their children need to learn some really hard lessons in life by a stern punishment for their horrible acts towards another human being. We coddle kids today … so different in my day of growing up. I respected any adult that may come up to me and admonish me for the smallest wrong doing. I mentioned this the following point in a previous response to another blog post. I recently watched a segment on our military and how the large majority of the guys/girls who enlist are almost completely unacceptable to try to train, due to their life time of coddling. What happened to parents who parent first and foremost instead of trying to be their kids best friend first? My own parents were just that … parents FIRST and BFF’s last.

Tammy - Hi Joan, well, I think you’ve missed your calling big time. You should have been a politician. You could have made a difference and I have a feeling that few would have relished the thought of going up against you. Clearly you are educated and insightful. I agree with much of what you say. Not all … but much. As always, I appreciate the read and your post. Both are invaluable to me1

Tammy - Hi Jeffrey, thanks for the support, you are a most wonderful cheer leader. Color me grateful. We are both of the like mind of “an eye for an eye”. I’m not at all certain that the idea is civilized but from this side of things, it feels like it would be justice. I’ll keep writing … if you keep reading. Great to have you here and wonderful to hear from you.

Tammy - Joan, I wholeheartedly agree!

Tammy - Hi Malissa, believe it or not, I’m afraid to get involved too. Seriously. I step out of my comfort zone every time I step into a situation that doesn’t involve me. That being said, I couldn’t sleep nights if I didn’t. I still remember when I was young girl I saw some boys dragging a kitten with a thin rope along the sidewalk. I must have been all of 5 but what stays with me is that I did and I said nothing. I’m 59 this week, that’s a lot of years of regret. Never again. Love your island idea! I’m on board with it. Wouldn’t it be nice?! I may be called to court, I don’t know. But if I am, I’ll go … and I’ll have the video to support me. More importantly that little girl had someone stand up for that day. I can sleep well know that. Thanks so much for the read. Appreciate having you here. Truly!

Tammy - Jeffrey, no worries. Of course I knew what you meant. Thank you!

Steve - The “for good men to do nothing” line is usually attributed to Edmund Burke. (He never said it, but it’s a lot snappier than what he actually did say!)

It’s also absolutely right: Neville Chamberlain did nothing about Hitler, and look where that got us. But taking that action is very often easier said than done. What are we to make, for example, of the recent case involving a lifeguard in Hallandale, Florida, who was FIRED for saving a life, because he went outside his assigned coverage zone to do it? [The powers that be are currently reviewing this decision, but still…yikes!]

The decision to intercede in a developing situation is of course a personal one, and has to be made on a case-by-case basis. You might choose to step in where I would say wait and see. And we could both be right.

We’d find out later—when we tried to go to sleep.

Tammy - Hi Kellie, agreed, agreed, AGREED! I have no issue with coddling when coddling is needed. But real life demands reality checks pretty much every day. My daughter knew that she would always be responsible for her actions, and that I would always be responsible for making sure of it. Accountability was and is big in our family. So was kindness, consideration, courage and manners. You hope that others are raising their children in a like manner. Today’s daily dose of news relieves us of any doubt: they are not. I am still BFF’s with my kidlet, but I am now and always have been, her mama first. So appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Tammy - Hi Steve wisely stated. Interceding is absolutely a personal choice. I know many good people who simply could not withstand a confrontation should one arise. Clearly it would not be in anyone’s best interest to involve themselves in a situation they knew they could not handle from the get go. I stand by the belief that there is always something we can do. Get help, make a call, etc. To witness blatant abuse (dragging an animal to its death, beating a child) and to do nothing speaks far more about us than it does the abuser. I’ve learned that life demands us to make choices when we least expect it. It is up to us to decide. The incident you mentioned is flabbergasting (one of my favorite words). This young man, and the others that quit when he was fired, have all been offered their jobs back. He declined. Good decision. We are left to wonder, once again; what has this world come to? Maybe we should all sleep on it. Awesome having you here, Steve. Thanks for your post!

Charity Kountz - Awesome post, as always, and I agree with you. I once saw a man hitting a woman in a parking lot – without a thought for myself or her safety I walked up to him, cell phone in hand and told him if he didn’t walk away right that moment, I was calling the police. Then I showed him my screen that had 911 on it along with my finger hovering over the send button.

I’m not sure who was more shocked – him that someone had the balls to stand up to him or her that someone bothered. (I was so much younger and foolish then, really thought I could help). I then pulled her aside and offered her help. At this point shock settled in and she was too terrified of what he would do to her when they got home. I offered to drive her to a women’s shelter and she refused. She got into the vehicle with him and they drove away. I never knew if anything happened as a result or whether I might have made a bad situation worse but I did what I could. Maybe I did it because no one did it for me when I was helpless as a child and I couldn’t bear for it to happen to someone else. Heaven help the person who is awful to someone else in my presence – I don’t tolerate that crap. Especially if it’s someone I care about – I will move heaven and earth to right that wrong. But of course, when it comes to me, it’s a different story.

I don’t know if you heard the news story about the woman who lay dying on a hospital emergency room floor and no one helped her or found out about her for an hour? There was video of people just walking by her, doing nothing. Two security guards looked at her and did nothing. Here’s a link: I was so horrified when I saw the video – even now, years later it horrifies me to know that with all those people around, no one helped that poor woman. Such a useless, unnecessary death.

Then on the opposite side of the spectrum is a recent story about a woman who was pregnant and jumped into a freezing pond to save a drowning toddler. The story is here: She couldn’t swim, didn’t even think of the risk to herself or her unborn twins – she simply saw someone in need and helped. And all of them survived. Yet, she’s been vilified by people for not taking her own personal safety and her unborn children into account first.

Personally, I think she’s a hero – it’s incredibly brave to risk everything – your life and your children’s lives to save another. What an amazing gift to give and how immensely powerful for that toddler who will now live a fuller life than before?

9/11 – many of the people who escaped the building were because other people were selflessly running in to help. People with families, children, others depending on them. They knowingly, intentionally ran into a burning building, uncertain of collapse to face the horrors within in an attempt to save even one life. Where would we be without courageous people who put no thought of themselves above saving another?

Kudos to you for writing this post – I always love reading and commenting on them! <3 and hugs!

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