Ignorance – great excuse!

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Last night was hockey night in Aberdeen.

The boys were mega excited and were determined to go.

They sorted out their thickest jumpers and wrapped up warm. I think they realised why I had insisted last time that they wrapped up warm, as this time they chose appropriate clothes with no question!

We got here in good time and we took our seats.

Within a minute of the first period the woman in front of M turned around and asked him not to kick her seat. He had done it once not repeatedly to be annoying! He tried really hard and managed not to do it again, even though a couple of time she still turned around and glared at him.

For the second period he changed seats with Old Person so he was no longer behind her. He asked me why she kept looking at him – M really doesn’t like it when people look at him. I just said some people just don’t like children!

During the second period the woman in question kept standing up to let her son – about 12, go to the loo, the burger stand, the crisp stand. In fact he got up 4 times during the 20 minute period, so that was 8 lots of standing up blocking the view of the rink. No notice was made of the fact that people behind them could not see when they were on their feet. Also no waiting for stop in play to move.    My Dad would have gone spare at people obstructing his view!

During the third period she decided D was going to get her wrath. He was not directly behind her, and yet she accused him of kicking her seat. D’s legs are not that long (its always been a joke that he has a long body and tiny legs)  so there is no way he could have reached it, even if he had wanted to. D looked petrified as I politely said to her he was minding his legs. She then turns around again and says if he must kick something to kick the empty seat next to her. D taking things literally does as she has told him, and kicks the back of the empty seat. At this she turns round and asked me why I wasn’t controlling him! My flabber was totally ghasted at her comment, especially considering her lack of concern for disturbing anyone else! I started to speak to her, to say he was only doing what she had instructed him to do, but only got as far as saying he didn’t understand what she had meant, before she butted in with, “If he doesn’t understand I suppose I will have to put up with it for another 5 minutes!” At this point, tears welled in D’s eyes and he physically shrunk into his seat. I ignored the woman to hug D and try to comfort him.     I don’t think he saw any more of the games as he held back the tears.

He didn’t say another word, until the game was over and we had left the rink. He then asked me why the lady was so horrible to him. He even went as going as far as saying she had frightened him. I felt so upset for him, but pleased he was able to vocalise how she had made him feel.  What I said he should do if people are ignorant like that is call them silly names in her head – but they must never go from brain to mouth!     I also said that there may have been a reason for her behaviour that meant she was not able to control herself.

The ignorance of people totally amazes me. After years of working with Joe Public, I am surprised that it amazes me, but it still does.

I don’t even think this is ignorance towards additional needs people, this is general ignorance toward fellow human beings that the boys experienced here.

The boys are 6 & 7, and so they are just children. Children do not sit perfectly still doing nothing – and if they did, I think there would be a cause for concern. They are in an exciting environment with a lot going on, and so of course they are moving about. However, neither boy was being the nuisance the woman (or evil old bag – the phrase D said he would be using in his head in future), accused them of. In fact her son was being more of a pain than mine put together.

D said next time we go to the hockey he doesn’t want to sit anywhere near her. I agreed that if we saw her we would make sure we were well away from her. But in my head I was saying to him, I’d sit behind her and kick the hell out of her seat!! I am pleased though that it hasn’t put him off the idea of going to future games as he does seem to enjoy it when there.

I think as human beings we owe it to our young people to teach by example. I just wonder what type of person the son of this lady is growing up to be when the example he is being given is to bully those around you for the fun of it. We can not complain about the next generation if we are showing it such a poor example of how to act towards others.

I felt sad and angry for D last night, but now, I just feel sorry for the woman who is such a poor example to her son.

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8 responses »

  1. This is awful :-( Such ignorant people just out to cause trouble. No understanding of others.

    That “can’t you control your child” thing makes my blood boil. I’m going to be careful how i describe it on public forum but one of my daughters took a lot longer to understand and be able to cope with social situations than average. She still finds it hard. And sometimes I get comments about it… “she should behave…” in such a way, or “she shouldn’t” do such a thing.

    Now my daughter’s a bit older she’s worked out what she needs to do in particular situations, if she has to. But if she doesn’t, she finds it easier not to. And it’s more important for me to give her the message that she is OK the way she is than to go down the route of her not thinking that she is OK. Because she is not doing anyone any harm.

    I think the way you coped with it was admirable – that sort of thing can really upset me and it’s difficult to hide that from your child and keep them from feeling anxious about those situations.

    • Believe me I wanted to explode at the woman, but I wouldn’t do that in front of the boys, and I don’t think sinking to her level would have helped the situation.
      My instant reaction was to get on the “people don’t understand special needs kids” band wagon, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised her ignorance wasn’t about that, it was just plain ignorance towards another human being. People like that are not worth putting my BP up any higher!
      Part of me hopes D will forget to stop his brain sending the message to his mouth and he does actually call her a silly old bag out loud should he see her again, but the reality is I would be mortified if he did!
      Teaching kids how to behave in social situations is a hard enough job, but when the examples they see are not behaving in an acceptable fashion it makes it impossible!

      • I find it hard to control myself in situations like that though :-( Fortunately it rarely happens but I find it so upsetting.

        Actually you are right though – *any* kid might have had that happen to them, and it was this woman’s general lack of graciousness that was the problem. Do you remember the feeling when you were 5, 6, 7 or 8 maybe and an adult spoke to you and it was like the gobbledook in the Charlie Brown cartoons – impossible to understand because of the social context.

        It’s so basic to me that kids learn by example, but so many grown ups don’t seem to understand that.

  2. Cannot abide injustice and intolerance is the time I do become incredibly assertive and stand up to bullies. Because it seems to me that’s what this woman was. However, I understand there is a time and a place and we should choose those battles wisely. You did the right thing in my opinion.

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