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Hoss likes to hold his sister’s hand to “help” her walk.

In reality, he gets dragged in whichever direction she wants to go.

We just started a weekly family movie night, which I love, and we were at a video rental store to find that Sunday’s feature.

Yes, I said a video rental store. Yes, it’s 2012. I got a coupon in the mail and it cost $0.53 to get The Lorax on Blu-Ray. Yes, now that you mention it, walking in does feel like a time warp.

Anyway, we’re in the movie rental place and Hoss is holding Lady A’s hand, “helping” her walk all over the children’s section. One aisle over, I see a little brother and a big sister doing the same thing. She’s about three or four, he’s about a year, and she’s holding the little guy’s hand as he’s exploring the racks of movies.

Both bigs are guiding the littles along, saying things like, “Look! Elmo! Do you want to watch Nemo?” And the occasional, “no, don’t eat the movie!”

Those were the two cutest aisles a movie rental store anywhere has ever seen, ever ever.

Then, I hear the little girl. “You don’t want a smack on the butt, do you?”

It was like glass shattered. My two perfect little examples of brotherly and sisterly love, spontaneously happening side-by-side, ruined.

Just a few words uttered by a preschooler broke my heart. Maybe I was overreacting, but what a bummer. Not because I believed she would hit him there. I doubt that. The sadness came because the whole scenario was so loving up to that point. And, because I knew she said that because that’s what she hears from her parents.

Then my mind starts. Does that one-year-old get hit? Do they spank the big sister? Certainly someone hits in that house, or it wouldn’t occur to her to say that.

The little boy didn’t do anything wrong. Big Sister wasn’t responding to his acting out or anything. She was just talking to her little brother in the way she learned was appropriate to talk to a small person.

I just felt kind of sad for the kids, and helpless. It’s not like I could track down the parents and start preaching about positive discipline and why spanking doesn’t work. My comments wouldn’t be very well-received, not to mention the parents were nowhere to be found.

My kids aren’t perfect. Hoss hoards toys as if his sister wants to eat them up, and Lady A is starting to develop very vocal opinions about how her day should go. But I do take comfort in the fact that hitting and spanking aren’t part of the program around here.

 

 

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