Big Lessons From Little People
The other day in the grocery store, we found ourselves in line at the checkout behind a woman who was having a dispute with the cashier. They were arguing over green peppers that she was telling him she did not want to buy, or had put back, or something. From her behavior, it was pretty clear to me that she was trying to pull something. I can’t be one hundred percent sure, but that would be my guess. I was taken completely by surprise when, after they had finally resolved their conflict and she was paying for her groceries, she turned to me and asked me to borrow six cents.
I held up the debit card that was in my hand and explained that I didn’t have any cash. That wasn’t true, I didn’t have any cash that I could get to easily, but I could have dug in my purse and found the six cents if I wanted to. I keep a dollar in easy access most of the time in case someone is looking for handouts on the side of the road, so it was unusual that I was unwilling to help this woman out. When I think about it, I suppose that my mind had already labeled her as someone who was trying to take things that did not belong to them, so I was unwilling to help her out. That’s not really who I am though. It shouldn’t matter if she was trying to steal some peppers should it?
Here’s the twist in the story: after I told her that I didn’t have any change, my son dug into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. He gave it to the woman. I almost cried I was so proud of him. In our house our kids squabble over change and hide it in their rooms like squirrels burying nuts for the winter. It is absolutely amazing to me that my husband and I have managed to teach ideals to our kids that, as I proved that day, I haven’t even learned fully yet. Children are amazing, and if we pay attention to them we can learn so very much about ourselves.
Somehow, the woman insisted on giving my son back change for the quarter. She looked at him oddly when he offered it to her as well. As if she was perfectly willing to take change from me, but not from a ten year old. She paid for her groceries with his quarter though and then gave him back all but six cents, and then I think that she found even more change somewhere and gave that to him as well. So I guess that he was well rewarded for his good deed. I was too, because I learned a lot from that interaction. I know that I need to work on my willingness to help people when they ask for it, regardless of whether or not I deem them worthy of my help. I learned this from my son…remarkable.