I went to the park yesterday. At each of the entrances were the `forbidden signs’. In our park we are offered a picture of the `crime’ with a large red circle with a red line cutting the circle diagonally.
The second sign was `No Skateboarding’. A group of nine or ten twelve year olds arrived to walk through the park. Two were carrying skateboards. They gathered around the large board and discussed the signs in some detail. They thought that the no skating sign was a waste of time. They also did not like the `No Cycling’ sign. They reacted to the two signs about dogs with typical twelve year old forthrightness. The two skateboarders carried their boards into the park.
A boy of around four tried to push his bike through a gate in the park. He struggled to open the gate. My four year old grandson ran over and held the gate open. The bike rider did not acknowledge him. My grandson held the gate open for the mother who was holding a baby and a carry bag. She did not look down at the little body holding the gate open – yet she had seen the gate being held open for her own son.
The young sixteen year old behind the ice cream counter smiled and chatted to my grandson as he made his choice. She made an effort to be helpful – far beyond was required of her. We landed up with double headers – vanilla and strawberry. We ate them solemnly on the grass watching ants crawling around, rowers out on the water and large container ships drifting by.
I wonder how the little four year old with a bike was going to grow up. I wonder if he was going to be resentful of society. I wonder if his mother had ever said thank you for any thing in her life.
I wonder too at the pleasant ice cream seller and hope that nothing ever happens to dull her pleasure in serving others.
I am sure that your children turn to you and thank you at the end of a session. After all you would expect grammar school children to have good manners!