Yesterday, I parked two blocks away from school to pick up my daughter. I was running late and understood that the walk was my penalty for five extra minutes of seeing the DVRed finale of Mad Men. When I got to the front of the school, I was astonished to see a woman pull up in her massive 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV and park IN THE CROSSWALK. She was nonchalantly talking on her cellphone about her full-time nanny and how her tennis game had just gone. Apparently she didn't get the concept that 1) it's illegal to park in the crosswalk 2) she was blocking the visibility of kids and parents who would soon be in that crosswalk and compromising their safety 3) that was she was doing was just plain WRONG.
We've all heard, and many have experienced, the behavior of “entitled kids” who feel they should reap rewards and gain benefits without doing anything to earn these things. Yet, I wonder how many of us realize those kids act this way because many of their parents act “entitled." These are individuals who don't feel that societal rules apply to them, ignore rules because they consider themselves above authority or don't obey rules because they know people who can fix any penalties they might incur. I would also add that some older people consider themselves entitled merely because of their age.
You've met these adults! In addition to the example given above (bitch!), they are the people who:
- cut in line at the bank, grocery store, movie theater, department store, bus stop, etc.
- get their food faster than the rest of us in a restaurant because they complain loudly
- run their cars in the “no idling” zone at school
- let their kids run all over a restaurant without blinking an eye
- talk loudly and often use their phones in the movie theater
- send their kids to school in inappropriate clothes knowing that the principal won't do anything about it because he doesn't want to deal with them
- take up three extra seats on the train so their bloody diaper bag has a seat while you stand
- have free reign at a department store as their kids play under the racks of clothes
- drop their kids at the library and expect librarians to babysit the kids
I'm sure you could add to this list. So what can you do about these people besides gritting your teeth or letting these situations roll off your back (which, admittedly, is probably the healthiest option):
- Call them on it, but only if you're sure it won't result in any danger to you. For example, a few weeks back when another parent parked in the crosswalk, I gently knocked on her window and explained that what she was doing was dangerous and that she COULD get a ticket for parking there. She probably blew off the “dangerous” part, but the prospect of getting a ticket perked her up. She hasn't parked there since. It's remotely possible that the perpetrator honestly doesn't know or realize that what they're doing is wrong.
- Let an authority know. I've called the principal a few times when the same person kept her car idling in the “no idling” zone. He went out and spoke to the mother and is now monitoring the situation. I've also called the police. Okay, someone parked in a crosswalk isn't life-threatening, but it does pose a danger to the general public. Dangerous situations should be reported.
- Embarrass these people. No one likes to be embarrassed and when I see kids with free reign at a department store, I rather loudly say to my child, “See how kid is allowed to run around? It's dangerous because they could get hurt or taken. WE DON'T DO THAT.” Most entitled people are idiots and don't care, but you could impact one who does.
Correcting other people is always dicey at best, but for me, knowing that I tried to solve the problem makes my blood boil less. And if people don't like me for it, so be it. Who wants to be friends with people who consider themselves above the rest?
Oh, and a world to anyone who feels entitled because of race, economic status, or age: GET OVER YOURSELF! YOU'RE NO BETTER THAN THE REST OF US!
Note: I'll resume calmer posts soon. This piece was prompted no only by the woman in the SUV, but as I'm reading the book, Teaching Kids To Think. Review coming up shortly.