Show Tolerance or Speak Up?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Still painting . . .

Here is something I've been thinking about recently, and since Urban Mamas just posted a blog entry about the topic, I thought I'd bring it up here as well. The topic is smoking. Before I had kids, smokers didn't bother me nearly so much as they do now. I've noticed at family friendly places that people often light up, and it's up to me to either say something or to move the kids to a different location. So far, I haven't said anything to the smoker(s), but I'm starting to wonder if I should.

Some examples of this have been sitting outside Starbucks with newborn Juniper and 3-year old Samuel, enjoying treats and the sunshine, and having a young woman sit down and light up. We had to move. Also, we attend lots of concerts in the park over the summer, and I'm always surprised to see people light up, right in the midst of families, who are enjoying their picnic dinners and watching their kids play and dance to the music. I don't know about you, but this strikes me as inconsiderate, because it shows a lack of respect for others.

One of my friends, who has a 3 year old and an infant, recently told me she asked someone to put out a cigarette on the playground. The person complied. I haven't yet had the confidence to do this, and instead have taken the kids and left. Somehow, that doesn't seem fair.

I personally have a fear of dogs, and have always been annoyed with dog owners who seem to think everyone loves their dog as much as they do. I remember we were recently eating a picnic dinner at Marshall Park when a large dog approached our picnic table. I froze up in fear, and the dog obviously wanted us to hand him some snacks, which we did not do. The owner, who did not have her dog on a leash, even though it was not an off-leash area, just smiled, thinking it was cute that her dog was so friendly.

It comes down to lifestyle choices, which of course, everyone is entitled to. The inconsiderate part comes into play when your lifestyle harms or could harm another person, like when you let your Rottweiler approach a small child when they have a history of aggression and biting, or when you light up a cigarette next to a newborn infant. I don't mind that you have a Rottweiler or smoke, but I also don't want to pet your Rottweiler or breathe smoke instead of the fresh summer air I've come out to enjoy. In turn, I promise to take my crying infant out of the movie theater so you can enjoy the film you paid $9.00 to see.

What do you think? Does tolerance have limitations? When do you speak up and say something like "leash your dogs" or "can you put out that cigarette?"


Jeremy said...

I'm not sure! I tend to be non-confrontational in those situations. We have had people smoking by us when we are eating outside with the boys and never said anything.

Great discussion...I'd be interested to see what others think.

Min and Jen said...

I also tend to be non-confrontational, but I have found my big voice in a polite but direct way when people who were smoking have "moved" into our space. No 2nd hand smoke for my kids. I think at a concert I just might move, but at a coffee shop where space is very limited I would speak up.

I think you can post again on our blog :-) Hope you are all well.

Here is something; for those of us still using disposable diapers (I couldn't launder myself for numerous reasons, and a service is no more environmentally friendly than disposables), how does one get to one can a month. I have our garbage pretty much down to some scraps, litter box presents, and diapers/wipes. Idea's?

Min & Jennifer & kids

Claudia said...

I do not want to smell or inhale your second hand smoke anymore than I would want my grandkids to inhale it!!!
I would move!
I agree about the Rottweiler!!! especially since we have had such BAD experiences!!!

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