Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Discipline

I heard the woman before I saw her, but one glance told me that she could fling me over her shoulder with a flick of her pinkie. Perhaps I was influenced by the loud tatoos on her large upper arm, or the barbed wire one on her ankle, I don't know. She was spewing cuss words at a young, 9-ish age boy perched on the back of her red Mustang. As I filled my tank with gas, I listened as she used awful words to berate him for making a "mess" of the back window that he was trying to clean with the squegee often found at filling stations. I thought about windows. The nice thing about them is that unless you break them, they're easy to redo and hard to permanently mess up. It's easy to say "here, let me show you how to do that".

Surprisingly, the boy clambored down without a word and set to filling the tank with gas. "Do I press here?" he asked in a pleasant tone. She responded impatiently, telling him to lift the (beep) lever and then squeeze the trigger. No words were uttered until he told her that the gas had stopped at $5. Her voice actually got a little softer for a moment, as she said that it should, as that is how much she'd pre-paid.

Perhaps, I thought, she was angry at someone else, at the cost of fuel, at buying $5 of gas at a time (though it floated through my head that the red Mustang was a newer model). A fleeting thought, though, as she barked to the boy to get in his seat and put on his seatbelt. As she pulled off, curse words floated out her open window because the boy had not belted himself fast enough for her.

I dared not say anything during the encounter, as I'm sure she'd either use that pinkie to toss me or even worse, her acid tongue to lash me. But he was such a beautiful boy. But, perhaps this mom cared? The boy was during the encounter respectful and quiet. He was disciplined and did as she asked without question. I expected that her mistreatment would mirror in him, but it didn't. I hoped for his sake that she was having an unusually bad day, and it would soon get better. I worried for that boy, and all the other children out there that have to deal with such poor parenting skills.

2 comments:

FatcatPaulanne said...

I hate to think what some poor kids have to go through too. It's sad.

jar said...

That reminds me of the Dr. Phil show the other day where he had video of a mother hitting her 10 year old son plus swearing at he and his 9 year old sister. Three other children were involved. Oh, and dad was hitting them with a stick plus kicking them with his steel toed shoes. The sad thing was how the children were fiercely loyal to their parents.

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