By Heather O.
Jacob had his swim lesson today, and generally did very well, if I do say so myself. The class comprises of about 6 kids, and the teacher does what he can to give them all individual attention. Most days, the 6 kids line up along the wall of the pool, and the teacher takes them out, one by one, doing whatever it is he’s trying to show them.
Today he was teaching them the rather complicated concept of side breathing while trying to do the free-style stroke. Never mind that my 3 year old hasn’t a clue what “alternate” or “left hand” or probably even “breathing” means, he hung in there like a champ. A clueless champ, but a champ, nevertheless. Still, the complicated explanation paired with too long just hanging out on the wall in a not-so warm pool got the kids wiggling, talking, dunking, laughing, anything but really listening to the teacher. The teacher did what all teachers do: gave a little “Hey, I’m talkin’ heeyah!” and told the kids to shhh. One kid refused to shh, and kept trying to engage Jacob in more general silliness. The teacher gave him a stern look and said, “Zip it”, and then mimed zipping his mouth.
That kid then got back into the teacher’s face (the teacher is A LOT bigger than this kid, mind you) and said, “No, YOU zip it!” Yes folks, this is a kid who is probably not yet 6 years old, sassing a man who literally holds that kid’s life in his hands. Not the smartest little booger, I would say.
To the teacher’s immense credit, he kept his cool, and simply told this brat that he could continue to swim and listen quietly, or he could sit on the edge of the pool for the rest of the lesson. He had to repeat the threat twice, but the kid eventually calmed down, and I didn’t hear any other major snottiness.
After the lesson was over, the teacher and I were chatting, and he said, “I’ve been doing this stuff for 30 years, and kids used to call me “sir”. The attitude from kids this days…”, and he just shook his head. “There are a few exceptions, of course, but on the whole, kids are just don’t respect anybody anymore.”
Is that true, do you think? Are kids just brattier than they were 30 years ago? If so, what caused the shift? Are we, the parents of the future generation, raising a bunch of snot nosed, selfish little pricks who think it’s ok to tell a man 12 times their age to “zip it!”? How do we stop this wave of total brat-o-rama?
As for me, as Jacob and I were walking out, I marched him up to the teacher and demanded that he tell the teacher “Thank you”. The teacher smiled and waved us on, clearly aware of the point I was trying to make.
The OTHER kids may be jerks, but MY son, of course, has perfect manners.
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