On a recent Sunday, My wife and I were seated near the back of our local church. Since it was Spring break, the church wasn’t crowded. Across the aisle were two young couples, each with one child, a boy and a girl, and both about two years old.

As the service wore on, the little girl started roaming near the floor to ceiling window at the side of the church, examining the glass, the floor, and the backs of the pews.  Her parents watched patiently and would pick her up and put her back by the window if she wandered too far. Other than that, they just let her explore. She was happy and we were all smiling at her innocence and bright spirit.

Then the little boy, who was sitting with his parents,  joined her and did exactly as she did, exploring and just being a nice quiet kid having a happy time. We all smiled at him as well.

Suddenly, the boy’s father got up from his seat, went up to the boy, gave him a swipe on his behind and dragged him, crying, back to his seat. His mother then held him on her lap and kept the very sad little boy from rejoining the still happy girl explorer.

They’re both too young to remember the incident, but I wonder if it were just a tiny sample of the  general parenting styles of the two sets of parents. If so, then which child was going to have the better childhood? Which child was going to be unafraid of exploring and learning and which child was going to be in fear of punishment for doing nothing wrong?

It can be dangerous to read too much into a simple incident, but it has kept me wondering ever since.

What do you think? Send me your comments.

Remember: Be good to your kids. they pick your nursing home.