Just Don't be a Jerk

It's the most wonderful time of the year. We are fresh off a month of giving thanks and the kids and I are headed for our annual pilgrimage to Camp Mowana to Make Room for Jesus. So, I'm gonna need to get this off my chest real quick.

I'm going to blame my sister-in-law--who posted this article and got me all stirred up--for my angst. It's been simmering for a long time ready to boil over though ... so ... I have to let it out. And by the way, that list doesn't mention the standard mom uniform: Uggs, Miss Me jeans, NorthFace and designer purse. Come on now; is that just Cortland?

What people wear isn't my business or concern though. And lots of my friends wear that uniform. I love you girls; you're fabulous!

Here's what bothers me: drop off and pick up. This might be a universal issue, as certainly entitlement and lack of empathy are symptoms of the global selfishness epidemic, but I can only address the Lakeview schools.

Recently, I have adopted the mindset of talking to my problems rather than about them, and it is in that spirit that I have compiled a list of tips re: drop-off and pick up protocol. Since there is no suggestion box, here you go:

1. The speed limit in front of the school is 20. Even when you're running late. If your kid is tardy, it isn't the end of the world. By the way, it's still 20 when you pull out of the parking lot. You don't get to run someone else's kid over just because yours is safely in the building, which leads me to #2.

2. Slow down in the parking lot. There are people everywhere. If you run someone over, that will be far worse than being late for work. Everyone has bad mornings sometimes, but reckless disregard for other people is unacceptable. Slow down. Pay attention. If you are going to just idle there by the entrance while your big kid walks in, at least look before you pull away. Lots of people are actually walking their little kids to the door. Don't run them over, you jerk.

3. Park in a parking spot. Just one. 40 other people also need to park to pick up their children so be mindful. Driving a giant SUV does not give you the right to park wherever you want. Park in an actual space--they are indicated by lines. You and your children are not handicapped and do not deserve special privileges. Thank God for your healthy working legs and then use them to walk to your car. Jerk.

4. That line of people? They're all waiting to pick their kids up too. So don't walk past them all and then yank on the door handle. It's not gonna open, bro. Did you think we were all just standing here because we like the cold? That's right; go to the back of the line. Yes, we are all laughing at you. Jerk.

5. When the door opens and you push through to make sure your kid is the first one into class, remember that there are 20+ little kids coming right behind yours. Don't let the door slam in their faces. That's terrible. And guess what: Their parents think that they're the most important kid in the world too. Also, if someone holds the door for you? Thank them and then hold the door for the next person. Don't just leave that guy standing there holding the door for everyone. That's not cool. He was trying to be nice. He has to go to work too. Next time he might let it slam on your kid. All because you were a jerk!

6. We're all busily heading somewhere, but it literally takes 35 seconds for the buses to exit the parking lot. I timed it. Just be patient. Trust me: They will be out of the parking lot before you can tweet about how annoyed you are or how the jerk in front of you held up people exiting the parking lot to let the stupid buses go. I let the buses out. I see you flipping me off. It's okay. I like your purse. Even if you think I'm a jerk.

7. Finally, let me reiterate: If someone is looking at their phone, it is probably because they don't want to talk to anyone. It's not rocket science. Leave them alone. Surely there is another dad somewhere...

Some days I leave the school feeling very sad for humanity, wondering if anyone is capable of empathy and compassion anymore. Fortunately, I quickly realize that for every person who lets the door slam on someone else's kid, there are 5 who hold the door. For every person who parks where there isn't a space, there are 5 who walk farther in the rain rather than inconvenience others. For every person who nearly runs you over to get out 3 seconds quicker, there are 2 or 3 who wave you on ahead of them.

It's kind of like life, right? There are people who are just out for themselves, but there are others (hopefully more) who are concerned with humanity as a whole. I can't change anyone, but I can be kind and thoughtful, and I can raise people who hold doors, say thank you, park in parking spots and think about others and not just themselves. I can try not to be a jerk or raise jerks.

Thanks for listening, friends. I feel way better.

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