So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

If I ever suffer from low-blood pressure, I know what I have to do to cure it - just make a trip through the morning drop-off line at the kids' school.  Or if the morning opportunity has passed, I can go pick them up.  Either way, beginning or end of the school day, there are plenty of chances to see adult misbehavior of magnificent proportions.  Okay, so no one is pulling out weapons or damaging property, but this misbehavior is similarly flagrant.  At least, it's no more subtle. 

The procedure for drop-off in the mornings for non-bus riders surely varies at every school.  At ours, parents are to line up single-file in their cars and drop the children off at the front door where several teachers/para-professionals await to help the children get out of their cars, if necessary.  It's not difficult to understand, and it makes sense that at a school with over 500 children in grades Pre-K through second that there are quite a few cars that line up.  It is daunting to pull up and see dozens of cars in front of you waiting to drop their children off.  The first reaction is "Ugh (sigh).  This is going to take forever."  Well, it's not instantaneous, no, but the worst case I've ever experienced is a 15-minute wait in the rain when the line was the longest I've ever seen it.  Do I want to do that every day?  Of course not.  But that's the worst it ever was.  Most days it's less than five minutes - even when the line is super long.  Why am I writing about this?

It's because of the people who can't wait those five minutes. 

At morning drop-off I have seen parents commit the following transgressions:

1.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they momentarily "double park" next to the front door so they can dump their kids off to walk through moving traffic.  At this point, one of the teacher-helpers at the front door usually says something to the parent like, "You're not allowed to do that" and the parent waves them off with one hand and drives away.  

2.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they illegally pull into a handicapped spot so they can dump their kids off.  Repeat the rest of #1.

3.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they park illegally next to the "No Parking" sign and traffic cones that the school has set up because everyone was ignoring the "No Parking" signs so they can dump their kids off.  Repeat the rest of #1.

4.  Driving along the "through" lane faking like they are turning into a legal parking spot so they can walk their kids into school only to butt into the line and drop their kids off, passing dozens of cars in the process.

5.  Parking at the intersection of the two roads (where I assure, you parking is neither legal nor safe), and walking across the grass/parking lot and through moving vehicles to send their kid off to school.

Apparently, there are a lot of people who don't think they have to wait in lines.  These are the parents who teach their children (whether passively or not) that rules don't apply to them.  They teach their children this:

I am more important than all of these other people.  

It's a similar situation at pick-up time.  Parents parking all over the place where they aren't supposed to because driving across the road in front of the exit door endangers the lives of walking children.  The school has resorted to putting up dozens of cones along the curb and to block traffic, but parents ignore them and pull up beside them or through them anyway to avoid having to get out of their cars or walk an extra 25 yards.  It's a nice little combination of laziness, selfishness, and blatant disregard for authority. 

If you're friends with me on Facebook, I'm sorry.  I've beat this dead horse so many times, it's ridiculous.  It doesn't cease to get my blood boiling.

It's a great opportunity for me to point and say to my children, "See what they're doing right there?  Butting in line/ignoring the warning signs/disrespecting the authorities with a flippant attitude/etc?  That's not right.  We're not going to do that."  I have lots of chances to teach appropriate character thanks to the inappropriate examples I'm provided the same people...over and over and over again.

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  I'm sure people have seen my behavior and used it for a character lesson.  We all screw up.  Fact.  The point isn't that I'm right, and everyone else is wrong.

The point is that there is a staggering number of people who put themselves first, and everyone else behind them.  These are my peers, my cohorts in parenting this next generation.  This is what we are teaching our children by example - that it's fine to put ourselves first.  But Jennie, we're just "standing up for ourselves."  Umm, no.  We're teaching them that overt disregard for rules and authority isn't just okay, it's preferable as long as it is to our benefit.

No wonder our kids flip out when they have to wait in line at the grocery store.  I'm sure in their little minds, they're thinking, "Just pass them on the left, and flip 'em the bird while you're doing it.  Let's get out of here faster!"

The world would be such a better place if we all held ourselves in a little lower regard, instead of the opposite.
 Obviously, writing this blog post isn't going to correct the problem.  I hope, if nothing else, it will help someone besides myself remember that whether we mean for them to or not, our actions are speaking to our children.  What are they saying?  And am I okay with that?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests.  Philippians 2:3-4
To the teachers at our schools, my sincerest apologies.  Because of our collective failure to educate our children on lessons of character, your days now include having to spend time teaching respect for authority instead of the ABC's, having to remind students things like "Don't trample your classmates" because it no longer goes without saying, and having to leave the classroom in the afternoon to line cones up along the curb that parents will ignore anyway.  This is our failure as parents - not yours as teachers.  I'm sorry you can't do your job because we haven't done ours.

My prayer for today:  God, please help my example for my children to be pleasing to You.  Help me to deny myself, and follow You.  Humble me, if necessary.  Allow me to follow Your Son's example - that is, that He came to serve, not to be served.
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me."   Luke 9:23


Debbie said...

Besides the cute stuff about your kids, this was the kind of post that made me love your blog right from the beginning.

I say a huge and hearty AMEN to everything you have said, and as an old woman now, I can add many more examples.

Bottom line: Our problems as a nation and a culture can be summed up with the motto of Babylon, "I am, and there is none other like me."

And do not even get me started on the mommies who park the car in the parking lot and walk into the school where I (used to) tutor to drop off and pick up children at their own personal convenience.

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