When I first became a parent, I knew my role was to keep this precious new bundle safe. I knew to buckle him into his car seat. I knew to carefully introduce new foods. I knew to cover my electrical outlets. I knew to place a gate at the top of the stairs. I knew to make him wear his bicycle helmet, and look both ways before crossing the street. I knew to teach him not to talk to strangers.
I never would have guessed that I might need to keep him safe from his friends’ parents.
Nothing happened with The Snake, but I heard a disturbing tale from a classmate’s mother. Apparently, her daughter was invited to a playdate with a classmate. During this playdate, the other child’s mother asked her a number of pointed questions about her parents. Questions about how old they were, where they worked and what cars they drove. While certainly these may have simply been a lame poor attempt at conversation, it seemed rather evident that this parent had some ulterior motives.
I wasn’t exactly cool or popular in school (you’re shocked, I know), but I thought that I’d left all that behind in high school. Perhaps I’m a tad idealistic, but I expected that parents of kindergartners would be focused on helping them navigate sight words and shoving on the playground. Not using them as a means to potentially denigrate another adult.
I’d like to blame the scenario completely on my locale, but I’m not that naive. While we have moved to the land of glamour and shallow narcissism, I’m not foolish enough to think that such behavior is exclusive to this environment. I can easily see it happening across the country. Frankly, it saddens me. With all the demands of contemporary society for today’s children, do we really need to heap on our own insecurities?