We chose to raise our kids in a foreign country, I acknowledge that. In doing so, I am acknowledging that the problem - our American kids can't act like American kids - is our own fault.
Still, I'm frustrated.
Here is the argument that our apartment complex staff would give: You didn't have to parent four children. You could have stopped at one like we do. You didn't have to teach them at home. There are schools where your kids can get their energy out. If you sent them to school, they wouldn't need to run around the grounds here at our establishment, treading on our precious grass, climbing our dear little trees, etc. You can't afford the international schools in this country, you say? Then move back to your own country where English-speaking education is free. You WANT to live here in our country, you say? Then abide!!!!
Not only that, but He said to us, "Go and make discip1es of all nations," not, "Go and make the nations feel bad because they don't have the same child-rearing values that you have."
Still, I'm frustrated. The children are shushed wherever we go. They are told to get off the retaining walls and to step away from the water fountains. We are not allowed to picnic on the grass. They are ordered to come down from even the lowest branches of trees in the park. Cars don't slow down for them in lots or driveways. The water at restaurants is either scalding hot, or loaded with lemon pulp. Outdoor space is devoted to landscaping (which children are not allowed to touch), architecture, sculptures, and slippery, uneven surfaces which are very artistic but especially difficult for strollers and little feet to traverse. With all of these restrictions on children, you would think that playgrounds where children can play would be plentiful. Think again. There are plenty of little carnival-type rides for youngsters, but they cost a fortune, and my kids don't get a bit of exercise while sitting in a spinning tea cup. We come home from a place like that and they are still climbing the walls.
All of this and more is why we took this apartment with roof access, upon which we are about to put a full-sized trampoline. I'm hoping that will solve all of our problems. There remains the small problem of the neighborhood cats defecating on our roof, but Daniel has worked out a solution to that problem, he assures me. I don't even want to ask (and really, neither do you).
East Asia, where a husband can use his giftings to make an impact, and where a kid...can't...be a kid:(