Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Please...Be Kind

When I think of an idyllic summer event, a parade is one thing that comes to mind. Whether it is for the 4th of July or some town's annual festival, there is usually a parade involved. Parades are often envisioned as a fun event for a community of families and friends that get together, smile at some fantastic floats and then proceed to get drowned by handfuls of candy until the children suffer from sugar shock.

This past weekend I was proven wrong. I won't be so dramatic as to say none of the above happened, but this was case in point where a few bad moments clouded out the positive. Ideally I know I should focus on the positive, but this is now the second year I've experienced it so I guess I've become a little sour to it.

This is the 5th time I've walked in this parade. My husband was one of the managers of a store in this small town, and for the first three years we walked with his co-workers. He since then has left that job, and the past two years I've walked with some of my It Works teammates and their families. We don't really even have a float...we just have a truck that we decorate. The adults hand out information and coupons about our products, and the children throw candy. 

Sounds fun, right? Unfortunately, no. I have been shocked at the amount of people that will laugh right at me, roll their eyes and say things like, "That is so ridiculous....Stuff like that never works...You have got to be kidding me...What a joke." I'd like to add they say it rather loudly so anyone in the surrounding viewing area can hear what they say. 

My reaction? Well, inside I'm boiling, but on the exterior I'm smiling and saying things like, "Thank you, have a great day!" Don't get me wrong, I KNOW this (It Works) isn't the answer for everyone (future blog topic). I'm not expecting everyone out there to jump at the chance to get some information and a coupon from me. That being said, I'm also not expecting people to be downright rude. Since when can we not keep our thoughts to ourselves? I kept thinking about the phrase, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." 

I don't want you to think this was everyone, or even the majority, but behavior like that can deflate a good mood faster than a pin to a balloon. I'm honestly not upset about the fact that they were bashing something I believe in, it was the matter in which they were doing it. One main reason why it bothers me? Take a wild guess who is listening to bet, the little kids sitting around them.

While I was enjoying the "banter" my daughter was experiencing behavior of a different kind. She was armed with a basket of generic Pixy Stix, and I had coached her on giving just one or two to each kid so there was plenty to go around. That apparently was easier said than done as multiple times older kids surrounded her and literally shouted, "Give me 4 of those!...I need more!...Give me a whole stack!" At one point the kids were almost 15 feet out into the street tracking her down. There were times when the look on her face was borderline fear and confusion. 

At that moment I was very sad for her. The idyllic summer parade of smiling families graciously catching candy and waving at floats melted away. I honestly wasn't having much fun at that point. 

Like I said before, that wasn't the majority. There were several adults that kindly asked for information or a coupon and then did say "Thank you." There were many that I know probably didn't want the information, but they still gave me a kind smile and took it. Nothing rude was said. Likewise, there were so many children that sat nicely on the curb waiting for the candy to come to them. They didn't chase anyone and gang up on them. When they did get candy they looked up at you with those adorable eyes and said, "Thank you." And, if they forgot to say it, a parent gently reminded them. 

I know I'm not saying anything new to any of you. More and more these days you hear or see something unkind being done. I work at a school, and the things I sometimes hear would make you cringe. Earlier this summer at our local wading pool I saw a brother and sister making faces, laughing and pointing at my girls. When my girls came out of the pool for a little break they told me the other children said that they came from a "stupid family." My older one seemed a bit offended, but my younger one seemed so oblivious to the fact that they were being rude because in her words, "They are so wrong, Mommy. We aren't stupid." 

As I get to the end of this blog I'm wondering if I even have a logical point to bring this all together. You might be wondering why I even wrote this. Well, one, I was too taken aback at the fact that somehow a parade was not a very enjoyable event for me, and I can't get the vision of my daughter's reaction out of my head. This, too, should have been fun for her. Also, this is one of those times when I just need to write to get things off my chest.

So, will I throw my hands up in frustration? I hope not. This will never go away, I know this. There will be more parades, more kids at the pool, classmates as they get older, etc. There is no denying the fact that there is sin in this world. I know I'm a sinner and I know my girls are as well. Events like this weekend remind me that there are always little ears listening and little eyes watching everything I say and do. When unkind words are said between my girls I remind them of how that makes them feel, and I remind them of the need to show love to each other. Most importantly, what are we as children of God directed to do? We are to love each other and build each other up, not tear one another down.

I pray I'm able to focus on the positive in all the kind people at the parade and the children that used their manners. When you focus on the negative it can wear you down like a load of bricks. Thinking positively, I will move forward.

Simply put....Please, be kind. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry that you and your daughter had to experience such rudeness. I'm often astonished at online rudeness (video comments, etc.) I was watching one, and read a comment insulting, in the third person, the looks of the boy in the video. The uploader of the video was that boy (when he was a child.) I wonder if some of this semi-anonymous freedom to be rude online is spilling out into the rest of life for this new generation. Anyway, good message. :)