We are all educators

Claire and I were lining up, waiting to get on a Fire Engine, one of the most popular attractions in the local Children’s museum. Kids can hold on and turn the steering-wheel. A simulated road view appears in front of them, making the driving experience more realistic. Claire had put on a fire fighter’s costume, already in an excited mood. The line was not long, with only two girls and their mom, while in the vehicle were seated two other girls who apparently  were much more older.

The big girls enjoyed a lot their new roles, forgetting others. More kids and parents came over and the line became longer. Claire nearly lost her patience while the little kids behind us pushed her. I calmed her down, showing that the two girls before her were just waiting quietly.

Another three minutes passed without any turn effected.

The lady on the head of the line moved towards the girl who was holding the steering. I could not hear what she was whispering. However, all parents in line understood that was related to the turn. The girl said nothing while her friend hurried to get down of the engine. After walking back to the line, the lady waited again.

One minute passed with nothing changed. Her girls turned their face and made a sign to leave. I was staring at the girl who now became the center of attention. Was she really innocent or mean?

“One last minute!” said seriously the same lady.

At the end of this last minute, the girl finally moved away. She got a “Thank you!” when the other two girls climbed up. Claire was excited, seeing that she was the next one. One minute later, she got her turn. At that moment, a little boy behind us jumped in and climbed into the big seat. He was about two years old but moved quickly as a squirrel. I suddenly held up Claire, who became confused. The lady was surprised too, “It’s her turn!” She was about to get the boy out while I just smiled and said, “it’s ok!”

The boy’s mom was two feet away, busy with his brother. I let Claire climb to sit beside the little boy. “Let him drive first, it’s a small boy.” I tried to explain but Claire just stared at me. The lady said nothing and left with her daughters.

I suddenly became guilty and angry with myself. I admired that lady who was bold to educate others’ kids. Most of the time, I do nothing to kids, pretending that thy are still kids and even unconscious about their wrong behaviors. I have more excuses: It’s their parents’ responsibility to correct them; It might be misunderstood by other grown-ups; It’s non of my business; I don’t want to make kids cry; It’s shameful to argue with a young kid…

My indulgence is really good thing for kids?  Is it another form of cynicisme? Regardless their age, kids should learn to share and to obey social rules. My tolerance to the little boy seemed a crime and I believe it was not appreciated by the lady, who showed me what was more important than being polite and generous.

It’s education! and the lesson might be beneficial not only to the kids who were educated on the scene but also to all others who were witnesses.

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