Friday, March 6, 2009

Sitting on my hands at Bergdorf's.

Today I was content in an upscale, quiet camera shop editing and ordering photos on their computer. A woman entered the shop. She was my age, or older. I am 47 years old. She had three children with her, all under the age of 5. The oldest child whizzed through the door screaming and wheeling a toddler in a stroller. The third child, about 31/2, came into the store twirling and running after the other two children.
The woman, completely unfazed, sat down next to me and began ordering her photos on the computer as well. She also calmly began expressing to the three children how she wanted them to behave.
At this point, the twirling child was falling down dizzy, laying on the floor and screaming. The oldest child was screaming with his voice and screaming that stroller around the displays. All of a sudden, these three children were disrupting everyone and in a way, had taken control of the aura of the entire store. I had the distinct impression that this Mother lives her life in this manner, and behaves like this everywhere she goes, and allows her children to do the same.
What has happened to our polite, puritanical behavior here in America? Have we gone stark, screaming mad? I knew this woman was as old as I, therefore must remember being raised in the 60's. Back in the day when we were raised on a respectful fear of our parents and elders.
Then, I remembered sitting on my hands in the Delmann Shoe Department at the Bergdorf Goodman Department Store in New York City as a child. Yes, quietly sitting, lightly on my hands, patiently watching my Mother try on hard to find size 11 shoes. No hardship lesson here. Bergdorf's is a beautiful store. I had fun looking at all the lovely shoes. I imagined myself one day doing the same. Teaching tolerance and patience. Using one's own imagination during a quiet moment. Nothing wrong with teaching children these lessons.