tired and cranky

Years ago I was on my way back from a conference in Frederikshavn (that’s in Denmark, across the water from Gothenburg, Sweden), and the ship was late. We spent an hour or so waiting to board. The waiting area was dominated by a few kids 5-6 years old who were running, screaming, pushing carts, etc. Their moms had no way of controlling them.

My guess is that the moms were teachers, because it was clear that they had had some sort of new training. As their kids were raising hell, the moms were running after them, yelling at the kids to listen. They yelled nothing else, just for the kids to listen. They were also discussing the tactic amongst themselves, which is how I know they had had training. They had learnt that the important thing is to get kids to listen. Making them stop running, climbing, pushing carts into other people, apparently even to calm them down, is secondary.

So, what you had there were two out of control moms, running after four out of control kids, screaming at the top of their lungs for the kids to listen.

Something in the Swedish public discourse makes me think of those two moms.

(American public discourse makes me want to run away from home and spend the rest of my life alone on a stone in the forest. But that’s another story.)