For example. I am helping my brother coach nephew #1's t-ball team. Lots of 5 and 6 year olds running amok in the dirt. Its great, I love it! (Really, I do!!!) I expect to be aggravated by the small sticky people running around, not paying attention, playing in the dirt, throwing rocks, wearing their baseball gloves on their heads, telling me they have to potty (right in the middle of their turn at bat), asking me to tie their shoe for the 4th time. Stuff like that makes the whole situation comical and enjoyable. I also expect the kids to not follow the rules to the letter, not because they are ignoring them but because they don't know them and the fact that they are 5 years old, has a lot to do with it. I do, however, expect their parents and grandparents to follow the rules, TO THE LETTER! I understand an excited parent, yelling instructions to their child, jumping up and down, running to the fence to be heard. Fine, I did that watching nephew #1 play basketball and soccer. But flagrant disregard for the rules that leads to the children misbehaving (even more) and delay of game play is aggravation I cant stand.
By the time the game was over last night brother and I wanted to pummel the other team parents and coaches with bats, short t-ball bats at that. We are there to teach these children about baseball, following rules, playing by the rules, being a part of a team, working together to make something happen. What happens out there on the field shapes a small part of these little lives and I want it to be a wonderful, fun experience for these future adults. Their parents need to stand in the dug out and makes asses of themselves doesn't bode well. What are they learning from them? Do the adults even realize what the kids are seeing and retaining? Don't they realize little Timmy sees Mommy acting like a fool, kicking the dirt and yelling, not staying out of the dugout as instructed, that he is processing that into "Hey, she doesn't follow the rules... why should I!?"
Yea, yea, easy for me to say, right? I don't have kids at home to raise everyday and do the parenting thing. Well tough noogies, I'm not an idiot and quiet frankly I think, since I am on the proverbial sidelines, I can see, objectively, some things parents cant.
Follow the rules, people! The small ones are watching us, they will grow not into the people we dream about but into the people they see everyday... US.