Not something I really like to do, and certainly not something I am good at. Well, the Hollidayettes might dispute that, but being their mom is my job-just sayin.'
But--'butting in,' 'giving a piece of my mind,' 'sticking my nose in,"--notice how all these idioms refer to the person who purports to Generously Share of his/her perspective? Yes, it seems to echo the often all-too-personal nature of these little social forays.
Another characteristic is that many people don't mind being the Sender of these nuggets, but very, very few of us care to be the Receiver. I would even venture to say that those who can graciously receive a 'butt-in' are likely mature individuals for whom the actual need for such 'verbal encouragement' is rare.
This morning, I found myself compelled to be come a Butt-in-er.
Context: Last week we took the plunge and joined a large local fitness club here, as a family. The purpose is to make an effective investment in our health (especially we two Ancient Hollidays), and to provide a compelling alternative to rampant CP (Couch Potatoism) here at the Circle H Ranch....
This morning, Alina and I were finishing 45 minutes or so of pushing and pedaling (weight machines, cardio machines, etc.....I know, but use your imagination!)
As I wended my way to the upper level to check on my little fitness mate, I found my gaze lighting on two Barely Teens sitting at the vending machine bar area. Not that I go looking for these little scenes. On the contrary. Gack. Yes, a boy and a girl, technically sitting on two stools, but with her knees wedged all the way in between his spread legs...which is better than it COULD have been, but still....
As I strolled back the other way, even less light seemed visible between them, at least to my cursory glance. Gack!
Now, I realize that pre-teens and teens are notorious for having unseemly amounts of sex hormones coursing through their systems at any given moment. I think we've all been there, as kids ourselves and, more scarily, as parents. And there needs to be an outlet for the resulting, um, energy. Any physical exercise has LONG been recognized as an effective and appropriate "release valve." Hmmmm....let me think....we are in a huge health club....HELLLL-OOO!!!
Perhaps I would be a bit less sensitive to such displays were I not the mother of 2 teenagers, one post-teenager, and one almost-teenager. But, I doubt it. Kids have it hard enough growing up in this numbingly oversexualized culture as it is.
Hence, the butt-in.
I just couldn't take it. So, sending a quick prayer that there would be no snark in my words, I approached the check-in desk and eyed one of the attendants.
"Hi. Uh, I just had a question...this is maybe kind of a personal taste issue, but I was, um wondering...if there was any kind of policy or anything about kids, like, sitting on top of each other right over there in the vending machine bar..."
Eyebrows arch. Mildly embarrassed half-smile.
"Oh, uh, well, if we were to SEE something like that, we would most likely try to say something to them..."
See? Even here, we have a middle-aged mom (that would be moi) and a 20-something responsible-looking facility employee--both made uncomfortable and embarrassed by the hormone-driven behavior of a barely adolescent male and his somewhat-acquiescent little girlfriend. More proof that the reality of ingrained adult authority has been signficantly eroded in this culture. Or so it seems to me.
I smiled back. "Oh, that's good to hear! Thanks so much for that!"
And I shepherded Alina through the door and out to the far more boring landscape of the parking lot.