I interrupt this blog for a RAK…
In the line at Starbucks yesterday, I watched a young woman with a whole passel of kids (hers and her friend’s).
The little ones were all dithering about whether they wanted juice or hot chocolate or chocolate milk or… Mom calmly listened to their discussions and quietly told each person behind them to “please go ahead of us, we’re not quite ready.” When one little girl announced to the world at large “I have to go pee!” Mom escorted the whole lot of them back to the corner where her friend was watching a baby in a stroller and took the little girl off to the washroom. Washroom break over, Mom rejoined the line and ordered drinks for everyone. Phew! All accomplished without any raised voices or angry words.
When my turn came, I ordered my coffee and followed the instinct that said “she deserves a reward” to add a small gift card. I wrote on the envelope “Good job Mom. Your next coffee’s on me” and tucked the card in her drink tray as she passed: she gave me a startled “thanks!”, but I purposely didn’t stay to see her reaction when she realized what she had been given.
In that 10-minute span, this Mom modelled respect for the children, courtesy and consideration for others, problem solving, and ability to adapt to the needs of the moment. But, it may be 20 years or so before she really sees the long-term results of her good parenting in the young men and women who learned those skills from their Mom.
Lest I give the wrong impression, I confess I’m more often grumbling about ill behaved children and oblivious or rude parents than observing moms and dads who are doing a good job. So, here’s my challenge to all the other Grandmas for these last hot days of summer before the kids go back to school here in North America. When you’re at the coffee shop, the mall or at church, pay attention to the kids who aren’t making a fuss and the parents who are coping, even if they are a little frayed around the edges. Take a moment to do something small to say “well done”.
Twenty years is a long time to wait for a little encouragement for the toughest job anyone can do well. I’m praying for that young mom today, and thankful for a small opportunity to be an encouragement along her path. May her children rise up to call her blessed! [Proverbs 31:28]
PS…in case anyone hasn’t heard the term: RAK = Random Act of Kindness