the wrong side of the bed

Monday, June 19, 2006

shout, shout, let it all out

yesterday at target, careyoke and i saw two little boys, obviously brothers, riding in a cart together. the older boy was probably 3 and the younger boy was about 1. the older boy was facing the younger, and yelling in his face, "i love you!" there was a menancing, growly tone to his voice. he shouted the phrase over and over. the pre-verbal brother just sat there staring. after a few minutes, careyoke and i were obviously laughing. a look at the mother showed that she was, too, but she also looked sort of chagrined. her face relayed a look that said, "i have no idea why my son is doing this or why he has chosen to do so in public."

today on campus, i saw two children playing in a grassy area near a fountain. the oldest one, a girl, looked about seven, the younger one, a boy, looked four. they caught my eye when the little boy, running from his sister, fell onto the ground and she sat on him. i started looking for a parent. the little girl then taunted the boy with a bright yellow duck stuffed animal, which i suspect was his. when he made a move for it, she would yank it away. she ran from him, but he couldn't really keep up, so she would slow down and let him make a grab for her. i heard my mother's voice from inside my head, and she clearly thought that someone was about to get hurt. everyone nearby seemed to think so, if all of the stares could be read as concern. still no one jumped up to stop the kids. one woman i walked past, sitting on a cement wall which was separated from the grass by a hedge and was about 50 feet from where the kids were playing, was staring over her shoulder at the kids. where was a parent or caregiver? we all wanted to know.

just then i was distracted by a purse sitting unattended on the ground. i was thinking to myself that nothing was being watched today, when i heard someone scream, "rain!" turning back, the woman on the wall was yelling over to the kids. the girl stood still, back straight and startled. obviously, this was rain. "you do not punch when you are angry! you do not punch!" she screamed over her shoulder, obviously angry. still she hadn't moved. finally she stands and starts moving towards the kids. "when you are angry, you turn your back and walk away!" she yelled, storming over.

my questions:

couldn't the fight between the children in the second example have been prevented if they were being watched? i mean, the caregiver wasn't even sitting in a direction that faced them. i've never raised kids, but wouldn't it be better to intervene sooner?

when is it okay to yell? when it is a bizarre expression of fraternal love (if that is, indeed, what that was)? when you are telling your children not to lash out in anger?

is it only okay to scream, shout, yell at your own family? can you do it for any old reason you want?

if somoeone names his or her kid "rain" can they possibly be anything other than a hippie?

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2:22 PM

2 Comments:

I don't usually outright yell at anyone besides my close family, but people sometimes think I am yelling because I "raise my voice" when I'm mad about something. So I think the question should be, when is it okay to raise your voice (you know, when anger gets into your voice but you're not really shouting)? Is it ever okay between friends?

Also, do other people see the distinction between yelling (the way you yell at your mom and vice versa) and saying something loudly/angrily when someone is being a jerk to you?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:55 AM  
thank you for reporting these stories. let them serve as a lesson to us all. i take it to mean that we are all monkeys and we don't really know what we're doing.
Anonymous joe, at 1:40 PM  

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