I sat on a blue Adirondack chair outside Target waiting to meet friends for dinner. An hour earlier, a huge clap of thunder, a two-minute rain, and a sudden wind quickly changed the day from balmy to blustery. The way only March can do.

A young family walked by.

“Daddy, I’m cold,” said the darling little toddler.

“I told you to put on your coat, but you said no,” answered Daddy.

“I’m not cold at all,” bragged the 4-year old.

As they passed by, I heard myself think, “Since when did wearing a coat become a choice for a two-year old?”

I caught myself before blurting, “And who is the parent here?”

Maybe those are unkind thoughts. Maybe I’m old-fashioned. But maybe, just maybe, a parent who insists on the coat communicates protection, safety, comfort, and warmth.

Would children be less anxious today if they didn’t have to make so many choices? Just wondering.

I just wanted to pick her up and wrap my coat around her.

6 thoughts on “March 6, 2020

  1. I see how hard it was for you to not say anything. I loved the line: “But maybe, just maybe, a parent who insists on the coat communicates protection, safety, comfort, and warmth.”
    I watch my own children get impatient with my young grandkids at times (normal). But they keep it together enough to narrow down the choices to two, and in the case of the coat, they make sure both of those choices lead to a coat.

  2. When I was growing up my parents tip toed the line of allowing me to have a voice and knowing when I didn’t have a choice. You can have both. My parents told me I have to wear a coat. They have made the decision for me. But I got to tell them why I disagree with that decision. Doesn’t mean I’m not walking out with my coat on though.

  3. It is important for kids to make choices and decisions, but it should never be a choice that ends up with an “I told you so” When my nephew was young- very young- he made choices . “Do you want to take your bath in 5 minutes or 10? Not Do you want to take a bath… Would you like to leave the park in 15 minutes or 10? We actually knew he learned to tell time and understand quantity when he would ask for his choices again or say- wait which one is longer?

  4. Your post reveals your kindness. I also wish parents today would insist more. Sure, the natural consequence is to feel cold and next time you’ll know better. But I don’t believe that a kid can make this leap when they aren’t feeling safe and warm so they don’t learn to wear a coat. They need parents to insist or to pick them up give a hug when they are cold. Like Fran said, I’m with you!

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