Saturday, February 28, 2015

Don't make me a mandatory reporter, mister!


Treehuggers unite!

About six months ago, we planned a vacation to Orlando.  The only request from the littlest member of our travelers was that we might spend some time visiting the LEGO store at Downtown Disney.  It seemed like an innocent enough request, but once we actually got to our Universal Resort, we realized that a trip to DD was going to cost us $80 round trip, in either a rental car, limo from the hotel, or taxi.  After a bit of cajoling, we assured said traveler that there was a LEGO store in King of Prussia, and that we'd visit there soon.

Today was soon.  Although the soon didn't happen as soon as one might have liked, as our first stop was the Franklin Institute to see the LEGO exhibit.  Fortunately for all of the adults, no one had clued Carter in to the ultimate destination in K of P, and he was truly fascinated by the artwork of LEGO artist, Nathan Sawaya.  

I know he's my grandson, and it's my job to think he's brilliant, but I'd like to toss the fascination exhibited by this kid while touring an INCREDIBLY crowded museum on a winter Saturday.  He's three, almost four.  He carried the map and studied it relentlessly.  As he looked at each of the LEGO sculptures, he insisted that we read the accompanying placards with the title, number of bricks, and inspiration written by the artist.  He touched nothing, and stared at everything.  

The same could not be said for many other children in the museum today.

How Mandatory is Mandatory?

While waiting in line for tickets, the family in front of me was, well, antsy.  The line was long, the museum was crowded, and the brass railings on the marble steps seemed to be the perfect jungle gym for the kid from Reading.  His father redirected him at least a dozen times, and finally said to the kid  "Don't make me wallop you in front of this nice lady," and glanced at me.

Seriously?  He wanted to bring me into this?

I smiled at the dad, and then at the kid, and said, "PLEASE do not make him wallop you in front of me, because I have too much to do today to file a mandatory report."

Now, given the nice conversation I had with these people, I have no fear that there would have been anything resembling a wallop as an actual consequence.  We engaged in a conversation about teachers, mandatory reporting requirements, and how that might extend to my responsibilities while visiting the Franklin Institute with my own family.

I have to tell you, the conversation I had with myself in my head was not unlike previous discussions I had years ago after becoming a lifeguard trained in CPR.  This weird sort of social obligation I have placed upon myself based upon job choices. Maybe it's my rule-following nature, but I think that I truly believe I have a responsibility to execute due diligence with the alleged skills I have incurred.  If CPR is in order, okay, I'll do it - (although I wonder about my long-term kneeling abilities these days, but I digress.)  And even though it's been almost 3 decades since I sported an official lifeguard's whistle, I still can attempt the "Reach, Throw, Row, Go" mantra to someone in distress.

But would I really want to forgo a day at a museum seeing a really cool exhibit with my family to go make a phone call to the state, (which would probably go unanswered, given recent news reports), and how the HECK would I know the name or names of the individuals involved?

Despite the fact that we've had HOURS of training, I suppose I am now obligated to research my obligations further.

And continue to give pleading talkings-to small children hanging on brass railings on marble while waiting for tickets, allowing for maximum museum amusement for all involved.

Let there be peace on earth -- or at least in lines -- between parents and children.