Hey guys! I heard what that lady said to you. I just want you to know that I'm watching you. You need to respect that property.
They didn't say anything and just kept biking in circles. That's when I realized that I have never used my position as technically an adult to scare the shit out of children. I've never slipped into stern mode and said "Hey guys! You are not allowed to ride your dirt bikes on the neighbor's grass." Never. Nada. Not once. It's like having a super power, but keeping it in the box in the closet and then forgetting about it. I am an adult. I can tell pre-teen strangers to stop being annoying and they might listen. They might even say later: "Yeah. We got in trouble from this lady." I could be "this lady."
"It's even scarier when the adult doesn't yell. When they just come over and tell you why what you're doing is bad very conversationally," Chuck said.
So then I had this fantasy. Except in the fantasy I'm a dude because it lends a cheesiness that way. I approach a gaggle of tweens, drop down to a single knee, adjust my baseball cap, and say something like this:
Hey gang. Now, I know you guys look at me and see a grown up, a real square. But I used to be a kid, too. Back when there were dinosaurs. (Exaggerated wink). I know it's real fun to jump off stuff and wreck things. But you know what? I learned a long time ago that instead of breakin' stuff, it's way cooler to be makin' stuff. So how 'bout it, guys. Let's put down the rocks and hacksaws and make stuff. (Bumbled fist bump).