Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
I have a Mom Brag to share, so don't roll your eyes at me :)
This morning, because there was nothing but one handful of cereal in our house, I took my kids to McDonald's for breakfast (on our way to the grocery store). Man-Cub really, really wanted Hot Cakes, so we had to go inside to eat.
As we settled into our booth and began to eat, a man sat at the table directly across from us. He was extremely tall (taller than my fella, who is about 6'3"), he was as broad as a cartoon lumberjack, and he had hair and a beard that would make a Robertson man envious. This guy, probably in his 50's, was domineering to say the least. Right away, I made eye contact with him and smiled, but I worried that Man-Cub and Girl-Child would stare at him or embarrass me in some other way. Well, I was partly right. Girl-Child did start to stare, and he noticed. But then, to my joy, she broke into a big grin and started to wave at him. He gave her a little wave back but remained reserved and unsmiling. He got on the phone and began to speak, then Man-Cub started respond to the things he was saying to the person on the phone!
Lumberjack: "Hey, whatcha doin'?"
Man-Cub: "I'm eatin' hot cakes, what are you doin'?"
Lumberjack (still talking on the phone): "Yeah, I'm up here at McDonald's."
Man-Cub "I know!! I'm here too! I can see you!"
And so on and so on, until the guy completely cracked up! He got such a good chuckle out of the situation, and struck up a conversation with Man-Cub, asking him all about his day. Girl-Child tried to steal the attention back by being extra-cutesy and the whole situation was absolutely heartwarming. By the time we left, the man's entire demeanor had changed. His posture was different, his face was brighter, and his expression happy. We wished him a good day and he returned the gesture, then exclaimed:
"Those are some special kids ya got there!"
I imagine that this guy doesn't get a lot of friendliness in his day, and I was so proud of my kids for looking past his physical appearance and showing him kindness. I have never talked to them about the subject. We talk about kindness to friends and what being kind means, but we have never had a specific talk about being kind to others no matter what. It occurred to me that they behaved the way they did because they see me and their dad being friendly to people when we are out and about. My fella is so gifted at being able to strike up a conversation with anyone about anything, and especially when he sees a lonely person. But beyond that, I realized that I behave that way because that is how my mother always acts!
There is so much to say about how we lead our kids by example, whether we intend to or not. Talking to and encouraging people is something that comes so naturally to my mother. Her example of kindheartedness has impacted not only her children, but her grandchildren as well. I can remember countless occasions where she approached someone who appeared sick and complemented their handbag or shoes. She always makes it a point to speak to mentally handicapped people when she encounters them, or to tell the parents of disabled children how much she loves their child's smile. Maybe this post would be more appropriately titled "Set the Example" or something along those lines. You cannot raise kind kids, or grandkids, or great-grandkids, if you don't show the example first yourself!
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