If you hadn't noticed, I've been rather silent the past couple weeks. Been dragging the family around England and thus free from high-speed internet and other luxuries like Blogger and my super secret Google password that I couldn't access on my lame cell phone. While I took in the British culture and tried to avoid the Jubilee paraphenalia on sale I couldn't help but notice a few distinct parenting phenomenon on the other side of the pond:
First observation: Parents don't raise their voices in public. When I yelled for my son to stay on the sidewalk/stop running ahead/walk on the right other pedestrians noticed because no one else was so much as talking loudly and certainly not yelling at their kids. Are British simply better parents, their children better behaved? Or simply more polite? Granted most kids were still in school in England so it was difficult to make a valid comparison.
Second observation: Children in public venues bewilder adults. Or maybe just American ones. Perhaps related to the above, adults seem at times perplexed, frightened (as in catching a contagious disease) or generally annoyed by the sight of kids walking about the streets, grocery stores and underground train stations.
Third observation: Children are permitted to play with toy guns in public. So although the British kill fewer of their own each year by gun, they don't apparently have any problem with letting their kids brandish fake machine guns in local parks and playgrounds. I can't remember ever seeing a child (let alone more than one) with a toy gun in public here in the US but I've only been to Texas a few times. Maybe if our homicide rates weren't so high here I could relax and not cringe when my son opens a semi-automatic replica at his birthday party.
When's the last time you saw a kid with a gun running around a playground?