Toddlers are funny because they function without a filter. Once they learn to speak, whatever comes up, comes out.
Here’s what we know about toddlers:
-- They’re cute. Really, is there anything more adorable than a chubby-cheeked 2-year-old strutting around in tiny plaid shorts and sandals?
-- Toddlers are funny because they function without a filter. Once they learn to speak, whatever comes up, comes out.
-- Because everything is an adventure, they can help you to see the world anew.
But toddlers also can be annoying.
Yeah. I said it.
Because they lack the capacity for critical thinking, toddlers want what they want when they want it, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
They’re lousy decision-makers because they have no understanding of consequence. Being told “no” can trigger the kind of histrionics that gets the entire family tossed off airplanes and out of restaurants.
NOW HEAR THIS
For toddlers, embarrassment is a foreign concept. They don’t think twice about holding a wedding, a commencement or a church service hostage. Their screaming fits — and their parents’ inexplicable refusal to cart them out — are enough to make Jesus kick out a stained-glass window.
Toddlers suffer from selective hearing loss. They often don’t recognize their own names, but they can hear “SpongeBob,” “Happy Meal” and “juice box” whispered from 50 yards through a surgical mask.
They would almost rather be dead than to have to share a toy, or snack, or their parents’ affections.
And don’t kid yourself — they can smell fear.
It’s up to adults to teach toddlers how to behave. But what happens when grown-ups are just as childish?
Well, some of them get elected to Congress.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Recently, a contingent in Congress carjacked a routine increase in the debt ceiling by demanding that there be domestic spending cuts, which they summarily rejected; no tax increases for the upper tier based on some trickle-down job-creation fantasy; and a balanced-budget amendment, as if changing the Constitution were as simple as changing a diaper.
Some of the same ones who sat in silence when the surplus was burned through like a bender in Vegas advocated permitting the government to go into default, though everyone knows it’s better to deal with the devil you know than the one you don’t.
Pouting at the other end of the seesaw were those who melt down at the mere mention of holding the line on entitlement spending, which is consuming the budget like the Ebola virus. They aren’t bothered in the least that we’re dog-paddling in red ink or that the federal government seems to operate on only two speeds: big and bloated.
Just as you can’t reason with a toddler, as far as these two groups are concerned, anything less than everything is tantamount to treason.
But those who have been adults for a while know the solution is almost always found somewhere in the middle.
Compromise rarely makes us happy, particularly in this latest case, but it’s a necessity for governance. When compromise is thrown out with the bath water for the sake of political purity, you get the kind of mosh pit you currently have in Washington.
Compromise requires patience, maturity and a willingness to make some portion of your agenda subordinate to the greater good.
Which is why toddlers have never heard of it.
Contact Charita Goshay at firstname.lastname@example.org.