My wife and I spent a good amount of this past summer at the beach. While I am not a fan of the beach, my wife loves it, so I go. I will admit that it was not totally unpleasant. I got to spend time with Mrs. P. I got to sit and do practically nothing for several hours. I was actually able to take a quick, undisturbed nap every so often, too. So, there was a little sand in my shoes and my hair was flattened to my head from the protective baseball cap I wore. It wasn't horrible.
I remember sitting on the beach, looking around at the surroundings — the ocean, the umbrellas, kids running through the sand. I remember hearing the sounds — seagulls, the low roar of the waves, parents screaming at the aforementioned children. Yes, several times during the summer, I was jolted awake by some of the foulest language I've ever heard, being projected at full volume. The words were fraught with vicious anger and the object of this tirade was usually a youngster of five or six.
I was dumbfounded. Here was a child — happy, carefree, busying himself with the task of constructing the world's greatest castle of sand. This young architect — dragging an overfilled bucket of ocean water from the shore's edge in order to formulate the proper consistency of the sand to create a sturdy foundation for his structure... only to have a belligerent adult (a father? an uncle? Mom's new boyfriend?) harangue this young charge for doing, at the beach, what kids do at the beach.
"Get that fucking shit away from me!," I witnessed one bathing suit-clad gentleman yell at a young fellow who couldn't have been more than five. He gripped the handle of a brightly-colored plastic pail in his tiny fists and silently took his abuse with wide, sorrowful eyes.
This morning, a friend was telling me that she witnessed a woman pushing a small child in a stroller through the downtown Philadelphia train station, the same one I commute to every morning. She watched as this woman pushed until she stopped the stroller at a set of steps that led up to street level. The woman tilted the stroller forward, bared her clenched teeth and growled at the child, "Get out!" The child scrambled dutifully to his feet and carefully, though awkwardly, ascended the stairs.
I have one thing to say to these people: If you don't like your kids, and you never should have had kids... for goodness sake... don't take your anger and frustration and poor decision making out on your kids. Just resign yourself to the fact that these children are your responsibility. You were "adult enough" to create a child. Now, be "adult enough" to be an adult.