Do Unto Others (Darn It)

We’re going to Chicago next week and I needed a pair of good sandals I can walk around in without developing blisters on my feet. After our regularly-scheduled free lunch at Chick-Fil-A today, I did a quick search for the perfect pair. J. C. Penney always seems to be the best store for me, price-wise, so that’s where we naturally gravitated toward after lunch.

Maddie and Chloe were doing what Craig calls their “Frick and Frack” routine while I was (quickly) browsing the sandal section. I wasn’t thinking too much about it as they weren’t being that rowdy, but they were a bit on the hyper side; in short, they were acting like children.

So, I was surprised to hear the lady who was looking at the clearance rack start talking to herself. She spoke loudly enough for everyone around her to hear, but as I didn’t realize she was directing her comments toward us, I didn’t pay attention right away. Here’s what I heard her say, “It’s my only day to shop for shoes! Why do I have to be distracted by these loud kids?”

When I write it out like that, it doesn’t sound like it did in the store. But trust me, it was mean-sounding in the store. I clued in about then and walked over to her. I looked around and sure enough, the only children around her were mine. “Excuse me,” I said, “but are you speaking to my children?”

She did not make eye contact with me, but kept looking at the shoes. “I would be if they would listen,” she said.

That was the wrong answer. I became the Mother Whose Children Never Do Wrong and said very firmly, “If you have a problem with my children, you need to talk to me, okay?”

She ignored me. I then turned to the girls (who were completely wide-eyed at both the situation and the fact that I was addressing it with a complete stranger) and felt the need to make my own verbal point. “Let’s move out of this lady’s way, girls, so we don’t distract her from buying her shoes.” Then I said, “Let’s just move to the other end of the section so we can stay completely out of her way.”

“Mom, what happened?” Maddie asked. My gracious response? “We got in the way of a very mean lady who does not like children.”

I don’t know if that lady heard me or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did. I was mad and I wanted her to feel a sting. I made a point out of saying out loud to the girls that we were allowed to shop in the store, too, and that just because one lady doesn’t like children, it doesn’t mean we have to leave the store until she’s done shopping.

I found my shoes, made my purchase, and huffed out of the store. Once in the van, Katie and EMillie started playing with their dolls. Then Millie’s doll did something mean to Katie’s doll and Katie said, “When someone does something mean to you, you don’t get to do mean things back to them. You need to treat them nicely.”

Zing.

I looked at everyone in the rear view mirror. “Girls, you know how angry mommy was in the store?” Yes. “Well, mommy treated that lady the way she treated us. The way she treated us wasn’t right, but mommy still should have shown grace to her. Mommy missed a big chance to show the love of Jesus to that lady.”

We brainstormed possibilities of why that woman could have been so frustrated and bitter. We talked about how mommy’s response reinforced the thinking that that woman already had instead of helped to change it.

The bottom line was that we don’t repay mean responses for mean behavior. Katie knew the lesson better than I did. One day, I hope to learn it as well.

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Do Unto Others (Darn It)

  1. martha10 says:

    i learned more lessons like that from my girls. we had more talks like that in the car for some reason. we weren’t ALWAYS in the car, but it did seem that with trekking back and forth to school+misc. errands, etc. we often were in the car and these “teaching moments” came up.
    i miss them. they often were so right and honest about a lot of issues that came up dealing with motives. they saw thro’ me better than i saw thro’ myself!

    Like

  2. thisgoodday says:

    Oh, I can sure identify with you in this encounter in the store. But, I think you handled it well in how you discussed the missed opportunity with your children. They will remember the lesson and your ability to admit when you make a mistake. That is an important lesson, too. πŸ™‚

    Like

  3. thediaperdiaries says:

    I hate it when that happens. I think that is why God gives us kids, to hold up the ever present mirror to our own selves.

    Like

  4. Jess says:

    Good idea to help the kids understand why people are grouchy. Some kids are naturally empathetic, but not all. We have one who would naturally think of how a mean person might be struggling with something and desire to help, and one would just as soon tell that mean person to knock if off or else. πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. wendy says:

    I had a situation once where three boys were making noise as we left a grocery store. As we went out one set of doors to go to the next, they knew that their voices would echo. So they were “AHing”, all three of them and it was loud and a lady was walking in and I could see that she was annoyed and that I should have better control, when they were doing no wrong. Well, I just happened to make eye contact with her and jokingly said “I know they drive me a little crazy sometimes” and I must have caught her by surprise because she said “Oh you poor thing, I don’t know how you do it”. And I said, “they are my boys and I pick the battles that I fight with them and this is one that I just choose not to fight.”
    I agree that we moms have to band together. But I also agree that we can learn from our kids.

    Like

  6. TulipGirl says:

    Humbling, isn’t it, when our children remind us of the lessons we’ve been trying to pass along?
    On the other hand, I also think it is important for children to witness us defending them, sticking up for them, in a way that communicates their worth as children–not just adults as important.

    Like

  7. martha10 says:

    i learned more lessons like that from my girls. we had more talks like that in the car for some reason. we weren’t ALWAYS in the car, but it did seem that with trekking back and forth to school+misc. errands, etc. we often were in the car and these “teaching moments” came up.
    i miss them. they often were so right and honest about a lot of issues that came up dealing with motives. they saw thro’ me better than i saw thro’ myself!

    Like

  8. thisgoodday says:

    Oh, I can sure identify with you in this encounter in the store. But, I think you handled it well in how you discussed the missed opportunity with your children. They will remember the lesson and your ability to admit when you make a mistake. That is an important lesson, too. πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. thediaperdiaries says:

    I hate it when that happens. I think that is why God gives us kids, to hold up the ever present mirror to our own selves.

    Like

  10. Jess says:

    Good idea to help the kids understand why people are grouchy. Some kids are naturally empathetic, but not all. We have one who would naturally think of how a mean person might be struggling with something and desire to help, and one would just as soon tell that mean person to knock if off or else. πŸ™‚

    Like

  11. wendy says:

    I had a situation once where three boys were making noise as we left a grocery store. As we went out one set of doors to go to the next, they knew that their voices would echo. So they were “AHing”, all three of them and it was loud and a lady was walking in and I could see that she was annoyed and that I should have better control, when they were doing no wrong. Well, I just happened to make eye contact with her and jokingly said “I know they drive me a little crazy sometimes” and I must have caught her by surprise because she said “Oh you poor thing, I don’t know how you do it”. And I said, “they are my boys and I pick the battles that I fight with them and this is one that I just choose not to fight.”
    I agree that we moms have to band together. But I also agree that we can learn from our kids.

    Like

  12. TulipGirl says:

    Humbling, isn’t it, when our children remind us of the lessons we’ve been trying to pass along?
    On the other hand, I also think it is important for children to witness us defending them, sticking up for them, in a way that communicates their worth as children–not just adults as important.

    Like

  13. Grace says:

    What a great job you did of being upfront about being wrong and using that teaching moment! I hope I’m like that when I’m a mom. πŸ™‚
    Also, thanks for coming by my blog and entering my drawing!

    Like

  14. Grace says:

    What a great job you did of being upfront about being wrong and using that teaching moment! I hope I’m like that when I’m a mom. πŸ™‚
    Also, thanks for coming by my blog and entering my drawing!

    Like

  15. Lori says:

    Ooh, it stings when our kids confront us on our own behavior, doesn’t it? Truthfully, I would have been just as angry, but too afraid to confront the woman. But it’s something I’m learning as well, to control myself when I’m wounded or hurt. I’m sure it made a real impression on your daughters when you confessed to them and used it to teach them. Good mom!!

    Like

  16. Kathryn B. says:

    Followed the link from “Rocks in My Dryer” blog. Sacred Parenting is an AWESOME book that addresses how God uses our children to make US better people. Feels like ALL the teachable moments like that w/my boys are addressed in the van too!!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  17. chickadee says:

    that was great. and so often happens to me (though i rarely speak to strangers, i’m kind of in awe that you did) but i react in a way that is not right then i realize it later when dealing with my children. how come they are always able to highlight my sins so well?
    i thought you had quit blogging. i’m going to have to add you to bloglines again.

    Like

  18. Lori says:

    Ooh, it stings when our kids confront us on our own behavior, doesn’t it? Truthfully, I would have been just as angry, but too afraid to confront the woman. But it’s something I’m learning as well, to control myself when I’m wounded or hurt. I’m sure it made a real impression on your daughters when you confessed to them and used it to teach them. Good mom!!

    Like

  19. Kathryn B. says:

    Followed the link from “Rocks in My Dryer” blog. Sacred Parenting is an AWESOME book that addresses how God uses our children to make US better people. Feels like ALL the teachable moments like that w/my boys are addressed in the van too!!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  20. chickadee says:

    that was great. and so often happens to me (though i rarely speak to strangers, i’m kind of in awe that you did) but i react in a way that is not right then i realize it later when dealing with my children. how come they are always able to highlight my sins so well?
    i thought you had quit blogging. i’m going to have to add you to bloglines again.

    Like

  21. jtcosby says:

    Came from Rocks in my Dryer…I have recently had a similar experience…I was extremely rude to someone at Wal*mart in front of my kids…and it totally was my fault. I was so embarrassed when I left, I decided to call back up there and apologize. She was so gracious to me, she said it was ok…it wasn’t, of course, but I appreciated her saying this. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  22. jtcosby says:

    Came from Rocks in my Dryer…I have recently had a similar experience…I was extremely rude to someone at Wal*mart in front of my kids…and it totally was my fault. I was so embarrassed when I left, I decided to call back up there and apologize. She was so gracious to me, she said it was ok…it wasn’t, of course, but I appreciated her saying this. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s