Children and adults: sworn enemies
In the afternoon we went to the park. There was a crowd of older children, 10-11 year olds I think, who looked like they'd just finished school early for the Christmas holidays. They saw me - an adult - approaching and quickly and audibly arranged somewhere else to go instead. Within 10 seconds before they'd even looked at my face properly or heard my voice, they'd all gone. It was blatantly obvious that they'd only left the park because they couldn't relax and have fun in the company of an adult.
Early evening found us in a busy cafe, on a table surrounded by other tables with families and young children. We were happy with our drinks and snacks and a new Disney magazine to read but Lyddie struggled to hear me reading the stories to her. All we could hear from the other families was:
"Sit up straight."
"Don't slurp your drink."
"Oh look, now you've spilt it. You're so stupid."
"No you can't have a toy. You're not having anything."
"Get your homework out and get it done."
"Stop running around."
"You're not having crisps, you've just had your tea."
"Stop kicking your legs."
And more and more and more, like a nightmare going on around us. Suddenly the earlier two incidents made perfect sense to me.
Today's adults here in the UK mostly see all children as being the Problem, to be manipulated and controlled, mistrusted and somehow made to behave itself. Today's children mostly see all adults as being the Enemy, to be ignored and avoided at all costs.
All the children involved in the above events (except Lyddie of course) go to school. I know this because, even if I didn't know them, they were wearing school uniforms.
What happens when they reach 18? This is what I fell to wondering last night. Do they go to bed on the eve of their 18th birthdays on one side of The Great Divide and wake up on the other?