The day my child hurled very British abuse at a stranger.

If you enjoy this article please  comment and follow me on Twitter @maddadskillz or Facebook or Instagram.  The illustrations are courtesy of @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

My son (3) and I were sitting on a row of chairs staring at the long line of people queuing for passport control at LAX. Wife and daughter had gone to the bathroom and so we waited. Son swinging his legs on the chair, I was pretty spaced out from a 10 hour flight with two kids.
“Are you familiar with the concept of people watching?” I asked Son. He wasn’t. “What you do is look at all these people and imagine what their lives are like, what type of person they are.”

We returned to sitting in silence, except he was leaning a bit further forward in his seat, now staring intently.

“NICE!” He suddenly shouted, many people turning to look, “YOU’RE NICE!”

I swiftly provided a quick recap of the rules of people watching, namely that you aren’t meant to confront the people with your judgement.

It made me think, what makes people seem nice? Was my son just attracted to some bright clothing or was there a couple sharing a joke with each other and laughing. More importantly, was he right? Was the person he’d singled out indeed nice? Were we even equipped to make such a character judgement from our observational seats at the back of the hall?

I’ll be honest, people watching for me usually involves placing people on a mental scale of attractiveness or finding couples that I think are considerably mismatched. I wouldn’t call it mean, perhaps just cynical.

In a world of trolling, sensationalist tabloid media, deliberately controversial talk show commentators, and increasingly nationalistic xenophobia, I was proud and slightly taken aback by my son highlighting the niceness he perceived in this person.

Was it the first thing he noticed or was he looking for niceness? I don’t know, but I do know I’m going to try to emulate him and see if I can spot the niceness in people before I make any other judgments.

If you enjoy this article please  comment and follow me on Twitter @maddadskillz or Facebook or Instagram.  The illustrations are courtesy of @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

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5 thoughts on “The day my child hurled very British abuse at a stranger.

  1. My daughter, Fidget is four. She told me the other day that she loves everyone in her class because they help her and she helps them. I’m wondering how long her positive outlook will last. Lets hope she takes a generous proportion into adulthood. Great
    post. David, TalesofTwoChildren.com

  2. When I was in high school my dad worked on a project out of town so mom and I would go every week to pick him up at the airport. Back before 9-11 when you could sit at the gate we had a BLAST people watching! A lot of times we’d make up stories about people walking by as we waited for dad’s plane. The best was at Thanksgiving Break when we went to go get dad and there was a HUGE group of college kids that came off a plane (i assume coming home from college for holidays). One smaller part of the group ran to the bathroom and from what we could tell they’d been drinking on the flight and someone was throwing up in the bathroom. It was not NICE as your kiddo said to the person he saw, Thank God I was old enough not to yell comments at the college kids! #ThatFridayLinky

  3. Next time you go can I come I love people watching especially at airports Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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