Lake Stevens JournalLake Stevens Journal

Community should be treated with respect when visiting public places

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I took my kids to the park today.  We rode our bikes around the lake and had a wonderful time. That is until we ran into two twenty something’s. 

We rode past and one of them said the ‘f word’, I turned and looked at him and he sarcastically said “sorry”.
My children looked at me with wide eyes and I shook my head at the behavior of the twenty somethings and we kept riding.
I could hear the two people behind us making comments about me, unhappy that I shook my head and saying nasty things. That didn’t bother me.
Then, they decided to say the ‘f word’ repeatedly and very loudly. I knew it wasn’t conversational because they said it with no other words in between, just repeating it over and over, attempting to get a rise out of me. The nerve! I’d had it.

I stopped my bike, threw it down and spun around ready for battle. I said, “what is your problem” They said to me that it was a free country and they could talk however they wanted and I couldn’t do anything about it.  They looked at my children and at me and continued to barrage us with expletives. For one of the only times in my life, I was speechless. I argued, “couldn’t they have some respect?” They said if I didn’t like it, I could stay out of their conversation. I wish!
So I stood there, bumbling like an idiot, wanting to punch them right where those ugly words were coming from, all the time knowing that I could never do that especially in front of my children. Wishing that for only a moment, I were some kind of inspirational speaker, knowing exactly what to say to them to make an impact and encouraging change.

But I’m not. I’m just a mom. This ugly display of disrespect has become the norm for us. I cannot take my kids to the park in my town or even the library because of the language and the general behavior of the kids that mill around there. If I say something about the language, I get verbally attacked.
 I have gone to the mayor and the police department complaining about the park. Nothing has changed.

An officer accompanied me to the park one afternoon to speak to the kids. He swore up and down that there would be patrols and that violators disturbing the peace would be banned.  I have yet to see the officer again but have seen the kids repeatedly. When the officer was there, the kids were telling him about the new things that the skateboard park needed to make it better. The skateboard park now has those things they were requesting. So to top it all off, not only do we get to be verbally abused and attacked, the abusers get rewarded for their behavior! What incentive is being given for change?  

I cannot imagine not having enough understanding or compassion or thoughtfulness or class to consider my behavior in front of other people. I cannot imagine looking at someone’s child in the face and swearing at them as if they deserve it. This world is contradictory and confusing and seemingly impossible to raise kids in. It’s not that I don’t expect they will hear those famed words in their life, I was just hoping it would be much later.

 I have seen so many beautiful young girls lately, who’d fit anyone’s description of a model or Hollywood somebody, that spew filth and vulgarity the second they open their mouths. To have such a pretty face framed with negativity and ugliness is such a sad state.  I have mentioned it to girls many times in public when I hear them speak that way. Often times, they are shocked and don’t know what to say, surprised maybe that someone cares.

I care. I feel as though I’m alone in it though. Am I the only mother left that finds perverse and offensive language unacceptable? What about fathers? Grandparents? Aunts, uncles? In the words of Pink Floyd, “Is there anybody out there?”

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