Tate: It’s a parade not playtime
July 17, 2013
It's a parade not playtime
Frisco hosts a fabulous parade every year. The mountains stand as a scenic backdrop for the bikes, strollers, horses, politicians, businesses, and school bands that march down Main street.
Last year was marked with chaos on the sidelines and I was hoping this year would be different. My brother and his family were in town and we were excited for them to enjoy this wonderful, small town experience.
Unfortunately, as soon as the first parade participants marched down the street, the children to our right stood up and started closing in. They were in a zone, eyes focused on flying candy, following it from car to ground.
They swarmed like vultures in front of us. Everything that was being thrown in our direction was scooped up in an instant, including pieces that landed on our blanket. An innocent looking girl in a patriotic dress grabbed a piece of candy right from my nephew's hand. He was able to hold on to it, but in the end he gave it to her.
Little bodies freely roamed the streets, walking right up to the cars in search of treats. The event staff came through sporadically telling kids to back up, but it didn't last long.
When I started getting angry with the kids, I realized it's not their fault. Isn't that what parents are for, to teach appropriate behavior?
Turning and scoping the parents out, they appeared fine with what was going on. More than fine, they were encouraging them to "Spread out to cover more ground."
One dad said, "You've got to be aggressive. Get in there and grab it!" This must have been the same man who pushed his way past my three-year-old's chair knocking it over and sending the balloon tied to it to the clouds without acknowledgment. (Luckily she was not on it at the time.)
I can't help thinking how important it is for the town to set some sort of limits if parents won't. The fact that there are no limits to how close the children can get to moving vehicles puts an unnecessary risk on lives. One tragedy is all it would take to ruin a wonderful tradition. We can't teach human decency in an afternoon, but we can keep kids safe. Even chalking "Do Not Cross" lines down the middle of Main street could make a difference.
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