Woman returns from the restroom to the place she had vacated to see two children tipping over the chairs and standing/walking on books that are open on the floor, as one book’s pages get bent up in the process. She witnesses these children acting as if they are in a play gym instead of a book nook. She sees a very expensive coffee table book with a recently torn page, since the page wasn’t torn when she left the area.
In a stern I-mean-business voice: “I can’t believe you guys! You don’t know better than to walk on books! This book is torn now. How can you act like this?”
Children: We didn’t do it! It was like that when I got here!
“I just saw you walk on that book and bend its pages; you mean to tell me you didn’t rip this book?”
“No, no! We didn’t!”
Man at computer who can see the area and apparently has been observing this, and other scenes: They didn’t do it.
Woman (incredulously): They didn’t?
Man: No, some other kids did it. I think they left.
Woman: I apologize then. I shouldn’t have accused you without first finding out the facts. But (addressing one child) is that you act in the library? (begins picking up all the books on the floor as children help)
Child (sheepish): No. Sorry.
Addressing other child: Is that you act in the library?
Child: (equally apologetic): No.
They finish picking up the books and leave the area.
Why is this scene even significant? Because I am that woman. And those children? NOT MINE!!
Have I ever mentioned I’m sort of impetuous? That I often act or speak without really thinking it through?
I am. I do. I guess it’s all the years of teaching that makes it so easy for me to reprimand other people’s children. I sometimes think it’s more effective when it’s not your mom doing the admonishing. I felt somewhat responsible since the books on the floor were there because my girls and I were looking at them, and left them there when the three of us went to the restroom. And, as it turned out, those two kids, I’d guess around 9 and 11, were at the library without any adult at all.
I’m sure some of you think I’m a menace going around giving random children lectures. Maybe so. I am still shaking my head and snickering at myself. Or maybe we all need to do a little parenting across familial lines–the whole “it takes a village” line of thought. At any rate, let’s just hope those two children won’t be roughhousing at the library again.