As parents James and I are always trying to do the "right" thing, set examples and be good leaders. Believe it or not though, we are not perfect (I'm pretty close though) and like anybody, we make mistakes. I yell when I shouldn't, I lose my patients, and at times I use poor judgment. However I do believe that we try our best, and always have our childrens best interest in mind. This post may not be as sarcastic or entertaining as some of my previous ones, but I felt that this story was important to share.
Yesterday for Mothers day, our family decided to spend the day at Sea World. We got up early, and stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Upon receiving my breakfast, I took a big bite and pulled out a piece of plastic from my mouth. I was a little upset, so James decided to say something to the manager. No one yelled, the manager was very apologetic and in the end my breakfast was comped, not necessary but much appreciated. With that, we were off to the theme park.
The night before our trip, we purchased annual passes to Sea World and Busch Gardens online, and printed out e-tickets. When we arrived at the park there several options of getting in, but no one to assist. We went through the main gate and were sent to a kiosk, which was unable to print our tickets, finally we ended up in a sea of people (no pun intended) waiting in line behind a row of ticket booths. No exaggeration, we waited in that line for over an hour. At one point a woman walked right up to one of the windows and said she was "sick of waiting" and would appreciate it if they could just look up her info in the system so she could go in. Unbelievably, they let her cut the whole line. I know this sounds very long and drawn out but that's kinda the point...it was a long, unorganized, mess. Once we were in I was frustrated, and maybe the breakfast incident gave me a little boost - but I felt that it was important to voice my opinion to a manager. James stayed with the kids while I took 5 minutes to talk to a customer service employee behind closed doors. No yelling, just me expressing my frustration and once again the employee was very understanding.
Finally we were able to get on with our day. We tried to make the most of things, despite our tainted first impression. Unfortunately, the park was a little disappointing, many of the shows were closed and a lot of the activities cost extra money (I don't mean merchandise either). After several hours of walking, we decided to stop for a drink and take a rest.
As we walked towards a table we heard a man screaming at his little girl. This little girl was no older than 6, and clearly upset. She seemed to be kicking a fit over something. The man then proceeded to shout "I am going to do this to you in front of all these people" he then grabbed her by the arm and started spanking her. This wasn't a controlled spanking, this was an act of rage. He was mocking her and calling her names. At one point he told her that he was going to tell all her friends that she was a cry baby. James and I were in shock, no body around was doing or saying anything. I began to give the father a dirty look, which had no effect. James then starting talking about him very loudly, he was pointing out how this man who was reprimanding his child for her lack of self control, had none himself. Then, out of nowhere, this teen age boy started yelling at James and I, stating that man was his father. He told us we had no idea what it was like, if he meant being a frustrated parent he clearly had no idea himself. I kind of laughed him off, but he exploded. He was screaming "F--- You!" over and over, inches from our faces and his body language looked as though he was going to attack us. James and I quickly grabbed the kids, as the boy ran towards his father. Before we could even react, both men were running in the other direction.
We stood there in shock. The rest of the day was weird, and by the end of it we were more than ready to go home.
In the car, with the kids half asleep and preoccupied by one another, James and I reflected on the situation. Most importantly, we were upset that we couldn't help that little girl. What must happen behind closed doors..the thought was hard to swallow. We talked about how the entire family had no self control, and a father who set no example for his children. James said he wanted to knock them both out (he's 6'5, 290 I think he stature alone was a little intimidating), but he couldn't. Our children were there, what would they think? How do we teach children not to hit, and then do it ourselves. It's never OK to lose control like that. I thought back about the other incidents that day, and how unintentionally I kept my composure. We came to the conclusion that our children make us better, and that every decision is based around them.
I woke up thinking about that little girl, and if any of you pray, please say a special one for her. We cannot control others actions, we can only hope to influence them. Maybe if each of us were more aware of what we said and did, things would change. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and feelings will always play a huge role in our lives, but I guess it's more about how we react than anything else.