Monday, March 4, 2013

Footprints as a Weapon??? You've Got to be Joking.

We live quite far out of the CBD. Of course, the further into the suburbs you go, the worse public transport is. We know that and we've always been prepared to drive our children places. We do it a lot and the older they've gotten, the more we've done it. Sometimes we do it generously, sometimes grudgingly. (We're only human.)

Over the years, we've established good reciprocal relationships with other families and have shared the driving. It's great when that happens. Every so often, we've developed relationships where we've slowly but surely been put upon. Maybe it's an oversight; maybe it's deliberate. I don't think the people involved are mean-spirited by any means so I would think it's just an oversight. I don't like kids to be left out or stranded so I've given rides many a time to other people's children. In a sense, I've become a "helicopter mum" not just to mine but to several. Most of the time, it all works out well and they'd do the same for my kids.

The other day, I mentioned to one of the children that I thought a particular friend was taking advantage and some better organisation and reciprocity would be appreciated. Said child nodded and seemed to agree and I thought the matter closed. I was wrong.

The following day we were discussing, as a family, the logistics of getting the children and their friends to the WOMAD Festival (World Music and Dance) over the weekend. Above-mentioned child announced that they thought we shouldn't go out of our way to pick up other child's friend. They said it was taking advantage of us. This particular friend's parents are super helpful when it comes to rides I might mention. Said child then went on to throw Footprints in my face by saying that it would be better for the environment if other child's friend could get a ride from geographically closer friends. Excuse me? Footprints as a weapon? You've got to be joking! Said child has never seen the environment as an issue when it comes to giving their friends rides.

Environmentally, it would be better. However, we had already made a commitment to other child's friend's parents and didn't want to renege. To quote Husband, "why shit in our own nest?"

Am I being cynical thinking that said child is throwing it in my face? Not really. If said child was an environmental die-hard who had always shown such passion I wouldn't think it was a personal attack. They, however, are not.

Perhaps I haven't made myself clear enough. Footprints stems from a sense of wanting to respect other people and the environment. Sometimes, however, one takes precedence over the other. It is not and never should be a weapon. Furthermore, it stems from a sense of gratitude, not entitlement and, from a parental point of view, I'm not sure that I've taught that lesson very well, if at all.



  1. We were just talking about this (closely related) subject the other day. I don't know your age or that of your children, but you will eventually find that you will never have taught any lesson very well.

    In days of yore (whatever "yore" means; Aussie term?), be you king or fool, your job was hereditary, and you learned it at your parents' knee. If you were the village shoemaker, your children would learn the trade sitting beside you at the bench, marveling at your ability to turn a few scraps of leather into quality footwear, and aspire to be as good as you some day. Now, in this age of public education and professional teachers, we send our children to others to be taught everything they need to know, and the subconscious message they get out of that is that you're too stupid to do it yourself. Don't blame the kids. Society has taken them in directions we may not have intended. Do the right thing, teaching by example, and wait for them to get it. They will...