not another playground story

A few weeks ago, while at the playground, a little girl pushed my son down the slide. After scooting off, he runs over to me asking me to tell her not to do it again. I didn’t. Part of me, of course, wanted to go over to the little girl (or her parent) and give words. I had to pause and redirect the moment to teach B how to stand up for himself and set boundaries. I realized that he’s growing up in a one-child household. There’s no sibling/s tugging at his shirt, taking his toys, interrupting his speech, or pulling for attention. I grew up in a house, oldest of 5, and learned how to navigate peers and tough situations at home. 
Part of his questioning, rather confusion, about this scenario had to do with why someone would push him down a slide in the first place offering he would never want to hurt someone by pushing them down. And to that, I couldn’t offer an explanation. I could only guide in preparation for the next go ‘round when someone isn’t kind or loving to him. 
I know people say, “ kids will be kids.” Yes, that’s true, but kids also learn from you, their parents/guardians, and everyone around them. I think the thing about parenting is not only to teach but also respect your child. It’s so simple but it often goes missed. As parents, we are pros at tuning out, getting agitated, and sometimes the craze of it all crashes and burns right in the middle of dinner. I’ve definitely been “that mom” having my own melt down at the dinner table. 
This incident, and many more to come, made me realize, how often do we, as adults, not respect our children? When they want to be heard, or stop tickling them, or help them, or ignore their tiredness or hunger, or not to touch his hair (that’s a big one for B). They learn so much when they’re heard, when they feel respected, loved and supported in their own right.
Heck, how often do we, as adults, not teach other adults about our own boundaries? How often have we let people slide, or shrink ourselves, or hide away parts of ourselves? Maybe it’s because we’ve been conditioned our entire lives to be less-than, that our words don’t matter, and respect is considered fluid. 
Unlearn anything unloving. Love now, new.