The Parenting Game Has Changed
As we walked into the doctor’s office, I overheard the elderly people in the waiting room complaining about “the parents of today.” They were convicting us and saying things like,
“All they do is let the kids play on those devices.”
“The children won’t have any social skills.”
“These kids today don’t get ANY exercise.”
I strolled right in - with all three of my FIT kids in tow - and just to be petty, I handed each of them a device.
You could feel the room full of senior citizens shaking their heads, so I promptly stood up and SHOUTED, “That’s it kids! Hand over the iPads! You heard the people. Get UP and do 20 JUMPING JACKS right now! Right here in the doctor’s office.”
Everyone laughed at the absurdity, because those same folks who were chastising the use of electronics would shame me if my children were bouncing around the doctor’s office.
I love senior citizens, but I have no problem keeping it real with my elders. After all, they have no problem keeping it real with everyone else.
It’s probably because I was raised with my grandparents and they always allowed me to speak my mind. I never changed the content or context of my conversation to communicate with my grandparents. Never ever speaking to them with disrespect, but always being honest. Maybe I was spoiled because my grandparents were so vibrant and youthful. They always encouraged me to share my opinions and perspectives on a variety of subjects…even if we didn’t agree.
That day, in the doctor’s office, I spent 20 minutes sharing my point of view with a room full of people who had just talked shit about our entire generation.
I explained to them that MANY of the children of today are actually quite active and sometimes even over-scheduled. They participate in organized sports like baseball and soccer and then run around to learning centers and dance classes and music lessons. And because of this rigorous 2017 schedule, there are times when the children must tag along with mommy (like going to the doctor’s office). On these errands and mandatory stops, those electronic devices are a welcomed break in the action.
It wasn’t a justification. It was a clarification. The game has changed. There is no rewind button. Parenting has changed with the times. On that particular day, I was not in the mood to sit idly by and get raked over the coals for giving my kids their iPads. Not that day.
As we finished up our discussion, the nurse called for the woman who accused these new age children of “not exercising.”
She reached for her cane and I rushed over to help her. As she slowly stood up, it became evident that (although she appeared to be the youngest of the bunch) she was having trouble with her mobility.
The woman who just shaming us for having INACTIVE children, the woman who was the loudest about what a terrible job we are doing as parents, the woman who was riling up the troops in the waiting room? Yep, that woman was morbidly obese.
I wish I had a profound revelation that would tie a perfect little bow on top of this blog, but I don’t.
Humans are imperfect. Me, you and the lady in the doctor’s office. We are all flawed. We don’t always know why we judge the actions of others and sometimes we haven't even taken inventory of our own lives, but it is important to stop and listen to the perspective of others. She allowed me to speak. She listened intently to what I was saying. And even though we didn’t agree, she accepted my hand as I helped her out of her chair.
Claudine Cooper is a Los Angeles based fitness trainer with over 20 years of professional experience. Originally from Minneapolis, this busy wife and mother is committed to sharing her passion for healthy living. You can follow her on Instagram @fitwit3.
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