Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Terry Cowgill's blog today has an interesting post on a subject Donna have been talking about lately. First off, let me say this: We don't have kids. Spielberg wasn't a fisherman when he made Jaws, but that doesn't mean he didn't know anything about sharks.

How's that for an association? What would Freud have said about that one? Maybe " Sometimes a big white fish is a big white fish. " Whatever.

What Donna and I have been talking about is these thirtysomething moms we've been seeing pushing their seven and eight year old kids up and down the aisles of the local supermarket. In shopping carts. You haven't see this yet? Maybe it's a Rhode Island thing. But I wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing it happening in a market in your area.

Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't it be helpful if the kid walked up and down the aisle? Helped his mom pluck stuff off the shelf? Is this too much to ask? And even if the kid doesn't help with the shopping, why can't he walk? Why does he need a ride?

Again, I'm not a parent. I'm not a father. But if I had a seven year old kid who rode around in a shopping cart, I'd expect him to be pushed around...

A lot. In junior high school. In high school. In whatever career he chooses.

" Hey, Tony! Ain't that the little creep we saw a few years ago being pushed around by his mommy at the Stop and Shop? "

" Dat's him, Bluto. Dat's him. "

Dumping your kid into the shopping cart next to the ketchup and the six pack of Diet Cola isn't a good idea, parents. I know, I know. Who am I to say? But c'mon. Where's this kind of parent/kid dance gonna lead? I'll tell you where it's going to lead. You're going to raise a kid who's used to taking the path of least resistance. And expecting to be pushed or driven down it.

It seems like more and more parents these days are driving their kids damn near everywhere. If the kid takes the bus to school, mommy drives the kid to the bus stop, and picks him/her up at the end of the day. A lot of parents whose kids could take the bus, drive them all the way to school, then pick them up in the afternoon. Schools these days look like gas stations back in the early 70s. But all those people lined up in their cars aren't waiting to pump gas; they're waiting for Jason and Brianna.

Jennifer Warner Cooper had a column in the Hartford Courant recently in which she described the behavior of so called " Helicopter " parents who hover over their " kids, " some of whom are well into their 20s. Parents go to job fairs with stacks of their kids resumes. Looking for work, as anyone who has ever done it knows, is a full-time job. These days, it's a job being held down by the parents of the kids needing a job.

In this post 9/11 world in which the next generation might be expected to serve and protect us from evil doers and such...

Imagine this: An army of soldiers, sitting in tanks, humvees and armored personnel carriers - all being pushed into battle...

By their forty and fifty year old parents.


jane c. said...

Terry--If you really want to study a phenomenon, try looking into the helicopter effect as it is experienced at the college level!
Oh the stories I could tell...

Terrence said...

I'll bet you can, Jane. Jane, for the record, teaches at a college in Connecticut. That's just one of the things she does. All of them good.