The bus stopped for a few seconds, then started to leave. A rider outside yelled for the driver to stop, which he did, reluctantly.
The rider got on the bus, upset. He went after the driver.

“Man, could you have a little patience? You barely gave me enough time to get to the stop.”
“I’ve got a schedule.”
“I understand that. But you didn’t give me a chance to get on the bus.”
“You should be more ready.”
The rider didn’t take kindly to this. “What?” He looked at the driver’s uniform. “Is that your number? 420?”
“That’s it.”
“Ok. I’m calling about you. I’m definitely reporting you.”
“Go ahead.”
Then the driver laughed. A deep in the throat chuckle.
“Go ahead. It won’t make any difference.”
And he’s right.

If the rider wants the driver to change his ways, or to apologize, that’s not going to happen. If he wants the bus company to hear him out, to let him vent, that probably will happen. But those are two different things, and it’s important to understand that.
The rider is not going to affect the driver’s behavior. The rider’s superior might, but even that’s hard to say. What we can say is the rider has no effect over the driver. The only things that will affect the driver is 1) negative consequences that will happen if he continues the same action (like a superior punishing him), or 2) if the driver looks at his actions in a completely different way and attempts to change them (he has complete repentance).
There is a slim chance the first will happen, and almost no chance of the second.

I think this is a good lesson for everyone, but I really thought about this as a lesson in parenting.¬†Parents, consider this. have you ever been frustrated with your how your child is behaving? What of that behavior can you actually affect? You can give negative consequences to the behavior (since you are the “superior” in this situation), or you can hope your child changes behaviors (complete repentance). But being angry – yelling at the driver – doesn’t do anything. It might make you feel better to vent, but that will not affect the behavior. Two different things.

Alright, what would affect the behavior of your child? Please give me your thoughts in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Controlling the rider, or a hard thing about parenting

  1. Rob,
    My hardest thing is to leave the emotion out of my statements. Like, “If you miss the bus you give up one hour of playing with your friends.” I should just walk away at that point, but it’s hard. Am trying to let him fail more – natural consequences and all that.

    • Michiko

      So hard to do, so important to do. Especially since, many times kids want parents to solve their problems. So you do need to let him fail, and deal with the fallout of it. You can do it.

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