Maybe I’m just getting too old. Or are children getting in boy-girl relationship too early these days?
I was eating at a local restaurant with my wife and three year old when we heard somebody shouting. Everybody turned around and watched a group of children, three girls and four boys noisily trying to find a table. They were talking loudly, giggling, laughing, shouting the way children do when nature starts giving them first shots of adolescent hormones.
As the girls were generally taller than the boys, I guessed their ages were within 10-12 years. My guess seemed even more right when another girl came in PE pants of an elementary school nearby.
The group was talking loudly and we tried not to be disturbed. The boys walked with that teenage swagger as they went to the counter. The girls were talking and fixing their makeup in manners that seemed well beyond their years. I looked at my wife and shrugged, maybe, at 31 we are just getting too old or out of step with the times. My 3-year old was looking at them intently as he continued eating.
‘Everybody goes through such stages’, I thought loudly and my wife agreed with a smirk. And then we heard one girl comment, ‘ You know what, you should not do that to your ex.’
Right there and then, I decided to stop pretending that I don’t care about what I witnessed. I said to my wife: ‘Wow, I didn’t even think it is right for 10 or 12- year olds to be dating, now someone already has an ex?’
They should be out doing homework, helping with household chores, playing games, enjoying life AS CHILDREN. But dating?
We were once 10-year olds before. That time, we had crushes. But to start relationships like you already know anything about the world? It was unthinkable.
We were in a restaurant where the waiters will gladly clear the table. But the children did not even care to eat properly with leftovers and spills lying around in a mess. They left a few minutes later. The people at the surrounding tables were relieved and we all exchanged knowing looks.
The place went quiet again, quiet enough to start thinking about how the future should be for my own son. Well, I vowed that I will tell him how to behave in public; how to clean the table and wash the dishes; how to gain a bit more control of hormones; how to survive the difficulties in life. And I will teach him to have a sense of responsibility first before even thinking about dating.
I looked at him. With the group gone, his attention was fully towards dinner once again. Then I am reminded that a father should always be aware where his child shifts his attention to.
Published in: Family