Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spatial Relations

Today I went to the movie house with my daughter and two nieces. We had a great time and saw a quality movie: Kit Kittridge: An American Girl. After the movie, the girls made a pit stop as I waited patiently in the lobby. I chose a spot right in the middle of the foyer- not many were around and I had the lobby to myself mostly. I could people watch as folks came and went- always interesting.

A family was leaving the theater and had an 8 year oldish child with them. Their trajectory path could connect with mine if I stayed put. The mother and father of the unit moved over some but the boy came within inches of me. It was no apparent big deal to him, but it did strike me as an odd choice. Now you could ask why I did not move in this case but the reality was that there was a very big lobby and I was just taking up 2 feet of space- with no one else around- so I felt it was OK to stand my ground.

But it was more interesting for me to ponder the concept of spacial relations as it relates to children. I really thought it was a phenomenon only with my children. I am forever coaching and correcting them as we travel isles within grocery stores. It is like they don't know folks get uncomfortable when you get close to them. I say things like, "Notice that someone is near you and move out of their way.......Did you see that man? He had to wait for you to move in order to look at the canned goods............Leave room for others to pass you.....etc.".

In my own kitchen, while we are cooking or doing dishes, it is not unusual for a child to wedge themselves between me and the cupboard to get a dish or cup. All without an "excuse me". I wonder if they think we are ghosts, either that, or objects that are easily moved to get to the real target.

I know my kids are courteous, use polite language, say thank you and ask for things on most occasions appropriately, but this is an area they seem to have less couth. How can I teach them to respect others' space. Mini lectures so far have not worked in shedding light on the subject . Any advice out there? Anyone else have this "problem"?

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