Recently, I was driving home from getting groceries. I was stopped behind a van at a stoplight. I could not see who was driving, but I noticed at least one child passenger. The light turned green but the van didn’t move. I know I have sometimes gotten distracted and not noticed a light changing, so after about 15 seconds I gave a very short “courtesy beep”, and the van started moving.
Less than a kilometer later, the van driver put on the left directional signal to turn and slowed down but did not turn. I went to go around on the right and the van swerved in front of me, across the right lane, almost causing an accident. I pulled over with my heart beating fast. The van just turned and drove down the street.
While I calmed down, I thought about the child in the van, and about role modeling. What did they learn from watching their parent (I assume) almost cause an accident because, I guess, they were offended that someone reminded them that they didn’t notice the light changing to green? And my thoughts expanded to thinking about traditional parenting and the state of humanity in our culture. Even aside from “road rage” some drivers will speed up to prevent you from entering their lane, and will get angry at you for going too slow. I don’t think there is any animal species that tries to hurt other members of its species for no reason. No benefit accrued to this van driver by almost causing this accident, but I imagine their ego is so fragile from the way they were raised that they felt there was an “affront” that they had to “revenge”, even if it could have cost someone (including their child) serious injury or death.
As I resumed my trip home I thought about that van driver being a child, and probably observing their parent doing similar juvenile and dangerous behaviors. And now they were handing this “legacy” of anger and recklessness to their own child.
Alternative parenting may not the best way to get obedience and a feeling of dominance and control, but MAYBE if we raised children differently we would not have a society of people who are so chronically insecure that they feel the need to protect their egos even if it is at the expense of the safety of themselves and others.