Sunday, October 5, 2014

It Said . . . It is better to build boys than to repair men.

We are in Seattle with the Folletts this weekend.  Ray, Levin, and Calvin trimmed a tree during the intermission of General Conference on Saturday.  Today Levin and I took a walk down to the park in between the two sessions of General Conference to tire him out a bit.

Levin and I had a great time.  We played pirates, looked at spider webs, found a hole in the fence so he could see the crane and backhoes doing construction near the ferry dock, swung in the swings, and basically minded our own business.

As we walked down one path Levin said he was going hunting and kept a big stick as his gun. A large shaggy black dog came towards us and he yelled, “A wolf!” and promptly ran over in front of it, squatted down, aimed, and shot it with his stick gun.  The owner was not amused.

Later he started to chase two geese. He wasn’t shooting nor hitting them, but running behind them. The geese ran under a picnic table and Levin ran around and met them when they came out the other side.  The geese waddled down the path and Levin duck-footed after them.  I thought it was harmless interaction and it was obvious the geese needed the exercise since they'd been living on the dole of birthday party leftovers.  Then again, we've raised geese and ducks and guinea hens and chickens and turkeys so my perception of healthy interaction might not be the same as one who only sees them in books or zoos.  Nonetheless, it never occurred to me to stop the play and I stood and watched Levin and the geese.  Finally I became aware of a woman shouting when another woman began shouting with her.  They were yelling, "Someone make that boy stop."  They were frantic.  When I realized what their problem was I said, "He's fine and they're fine."

She yelled, "They're geese!"  like maybe I thought they were seagulls or dolphins or children.

I replied, "And he's a boy.  He's a child; they're animals.  They're just fine."

She was clearly very agitated and said with a humph, "Well! I would never let my child do that."

The lady in the background was still echoing, so I answered them louder, "Obviously we don't parent the same.  He's fine and so are they."

I’m not confrontational and I was quite surprised to find myself in the middle of the conversation. But in a city where dogs are valued more than children, the situation bothered me.  

The woman who would never let her child chase a goose was obviously torqued and I was glad when her  not-very-well-behaved dogs yanked her on down the path.

One lady down, but that still left the other woman.  By now Levin and the geese were walking around each other, he could easily pet them.  The woman stood and glared at me.  Levin said he was done with his stick and threw it on the ground (which I must admit did relieve me, remember he had just shot the wolf a hundred yards earlier).  I told him to throw it back into the water, so he ran over the rocks and driftwood and tossed it in the sea.  Then, Levin did the most perfect thing.  He climbed back up where the other woman was with her two dogs and boyfriend.  The man was sitting on a log and Levin went over and sat down next to him, skin to skin.  Levin looked at the man's dogs and talked to him.  The woman was not pleased and continued to glare, but Levin (who had been too busy chasing geese to hear her scolding and totally oblivious to any nuances now) had found himself a new friend. I think the woman was waiting for me to call him off, but it was such a satisfying sight and I wasn't about to scold him for being a curious, friendly, happy little boy that plays with fat geese. Besides, her boyfriend seemed to appreciate him. The glaring woman couldn't take the situation for long and within a minute or two left dragging her dogs and boyfriend behind her.  Having fought pirates, wolves, and ignorant women, we called it a day and walked home -- stopping several times and resting until we'd counted to magic number 11.

Public goose chasing may not be socially acceptable and it might be well for me to remember that in the future, but I need to always remember that it is better to build boys than to repair and mend broken men.  

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the series, click here)


melanie said...

I never knew there were people so passionate about geese. I bet they actually liked the shake up in their day. They're probably still honking on about it three days later.

Haley Krumblis said...

I had a similar experience because Cooper wasn't on one of those leash things. The woman grabbed his arm and yelled, "Where is your mother?!" I replied, "I'm right behind him, he's fine, just exploring." Not impressed, she yanked on the leash toting her two children along:). I would have loved to see that interaction with Levin.

Lucy said...

I also live in a place where dogs are valued more than people and was at a park just yesterday where I had to intervene more than I liked by how Daniel was playing. I’m glad there are different ways of parenting and I like how you (grand)parent and I wish the other, louder half could be more tolerant of curious, little boys.

Cassidy said...

good for you!!!!!! I'm glad you stood up for Levin.