I have had the great fortune of being placed with a host family that lives right next to a large park. Wanting to take full advantage of the early September sunshine, I began going on runs nearly every afternoon. During these jogs I would observe the families around me: cute, young couples pushing strollers, toddlers stumbling ahead of their parents, glancing behind them every once and awhile. In the beginning, nothing seemed out of place. And then it dawned on me. This wasn’t just any park scene; this was an especially peaceful one.
At first glance, French children appear no different than American children, albeit more well-dressed (it never fails to amaze me to see children who are barely able to walk in trendy outerwear and tasteful footwear.) But there’s more to it than that, and I’ve come to this realization: French children are calm. They don’t throw tantrums and exude, from an early age, independence and responsibility. Much like their adult Parisian counterparts, the youngest members of Parisian society rarely seemed ruffled by anything.
Years ago, on a whim, I bought the book Bringing up Bébé, which explicates this phenomenon of obedient, well-behaved French children. (I am apparently not the only one to have noticed this trend.) Sadly, I misplaced that book before I had the chance to read it. However, I feel that this is one French mystery I don’t have to unravel just yet. For now, I’m content continuing as an appreciative, beguiled onlooker.
Texte Ella Damstra, Johns Hopkins University - Photo internet