Saturday, April 10th, 2004 • No Comments on Children Are Our Future, And A Big Nuisance
File this under the heading “Reason #3947 Why I Love My Job.”
A patron brings two of her three children in to use the children’s computers. The oldest is sent off to sign up on an adult computer. Patron is on her cell phone the entire time she is dealing with me and also while helping one of the girls start her game. She’s not even attempting to moderate her voice (or even address me directly—she simply flings the kids’ library cards at me), so I get to hear her side of the conversation. It goes something like this:
Patron on cell phone: Well, she needs to stay out of my business.
Pause while she listens for response.
Patron: People do it all the time. Robin does it, Barbara does it. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about it. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Patron: People leave their kids alone all the time. It’s no big deal.
Patron: I know, she told me she’d call the police. But I already did. I told them the girls’ ages and they said there is no age limit and it’s fine. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m a good parent.
Patron: I’ve got things to do.
I can’t be home with them all the time.
(Insert gagging noise made by annoyed library assistant.)
Pause. More excuses. Pause. A couple expletives. Pause. More defense of leaving her children alone. She eventually wanders out of the children’s room to use an adult computer, still on her cell phone. That was forty minutes ago and she’s still on the phone. I can hear the occasional bit of conversation because she’s talking that loudly.
For the record, the girls’ ages are 13, 11 and 4. While I will grudgingly acknowledge that the average 13 year old could probably manage pretty well on her own—occasionally—I take serious issue with leaving a kid younger than that home alone. Not to mention how unfair it is to expect the older kids to watch a rambunctious 4 year old (who is currently attempting to destroy one of the puzzles). Most adults find it exhausting to chase after a 4 year old, so how can she expect a kid who has the attention span of my dog to keep track of a 4 year old’s whereabouts? Answer: she doesn’t care.
And the “everyone does it” excuse just makes me want to vomit. Sometimes bad things happen to kids who are left home alone. Her rationalizing and justifying her actions won’t be able to undo a tragedy if it happens. Then who will she blame? The police? Her kids? Someone else? Probably. Because people like this are selfish and don’t understand responsibility and accountability. It’s all well and good to leave her children home alone to do those things she
to do (and I didn’t get the impression she was talking about work), but I guess she never considered the fact that children need their parents. Parents who don’t have a cell phone glued to their ear all the time.
Don’t have ‘em if you can’t raise ‘em.