I don’t go to the gym as often as I’d like. Evenings are tough, I get tired. Boy 1 and Boy 2 keep my wife and I fully occupied till about 8 or 9 at night, between swimming lessons, homework, and lately, blackjack (they are getting an early start on probability). It’s an early night tonight, catching up on sleep they missed out from the hyperactivity of the Halloween candyfest.
I managed to go to the gym today. Walk in, go upstairs, change, walk back down. The usual crowd: older people (I’m in that demographic) and predominantly women by the treadmills and elliptical machines, the younger crowd (and mostly men) by the weights. A guy my age stands by the exercise mats with his son, a child no more than 9 years old. Tells him to go play on the mats as he walks away to do his workout.
You could tell by the look on the kid’s face that he didn’t know what to do. He stared at the empty corner of the gym for a few seconds. Went back to his father, asked him if he could sit on the chairs on the other end, walked over there and sat. He had a handheld gaming device, maybe a Nintendo DS. By the time I left the gym over an hour later, the boy was still sitting there, his father working his biceps.
Let me put it as simply as I can: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT FATHER? At a very basic level, it’s not even as though he were really obese and in dire need of exercise. But it’s fundamentally wrong, go ahead choose another word – selfish, self-centered, egotistical, inconsiderate, uncaring, shameful – to be so full of yourself and so oblivious to your own child’s needs that your needs have to come before his. Congratulations, mister, you get my Worst parent of the day award. I hope I don’t have to hand it over to you again. He should brush up on Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” I hardly think that sitting in a gym full of adults working out while his father ignores him was in that boy’s best interests.