Saturday, March 13, 2010

little eyes watching

You know what bugs me to no end these days? BIG kids in the LITTLE kids play area at the mall, and mothers who just drop them off there like it's a daycare while they shop! we had a little "run-in" with a mother who did just that.

It seems like every time we take Gage to the play area at our mall there are always kids running around that are just too old to be there, and I worry about Gage getting trampled. This afternoon there were about 4 of them. I could take it no longer and finally said to one of the rowdy had-to-be-at-least-8-year-old girls, "Really, you are too old to be in here. But if you are in here you need to calm down so you don't trample one of these little ones. Okay?"

She just looked at me and kind of nodded, then proceeded to tell one of the other girls about it and eventually made faces behind my back (according to my observant husband). As we were getting ready to go, their mother came back to get them, and my first thought was, "Oh sure, now that we're leaving!" Craig had a different thought. His was to go tell that mother a thing or two!

Inwardly I was cheering him on as I followed behind with the stroller. When I approached I heard the mother snidely say, "Just wait until your kids are older." And Craig responded with, "Yeah, and we won't be putting them in there." And then she noticed our sweatshirts and said while walking away, "It figures, you're Iowa State fans..."

So what does that have to do with anything?! Anyway lady, you'd be hard-pressed not to find an Iowa State fan in Ames. That remark did it. I angrily called out, "Well it's no wonder your kids behave that way!" Oh boy. Wrong. Thing. To. Say.

She came back toward me, and of the many thoughts going through my head, one was: Oh no, what did I do?

She said something like, "You don't even know me," And I said, "Well I can see that you're very outspoken," (and rude) I was thinking. The "conversation" soon ended and we all went our separate ways.

I confess that I have a temper. And when someone is rude to me, I find myself wanting to be rude back. I usually find some satisfaction in that, even though I know it's not right. But today I walked away feeling differently. One reason was because nothing positive came from the whole thing. She would most likely continue to let her big kids play there, probably more often because she was so ticked off at people like us. And another reason was I was so convicted by the thought of, what if someone I know from church witnessed that exchange? What if that woman showed up at our church as a first time visitor and saw me there? What a hypocrite I would look like!

Most of all I felt ashamed of acting that way in front of my son, who will soon be aware of right and wrong and someone I need to be able to answer to. I don't want my children following my bad example. To the world I'm sure my comment wasn't so bad. It was the truth wasn't it?! But I should be different than "the world". I am a Christ follower. And I am pretty certain that Christ wouldn't have responded that way!

I am so glad I didn't just walk away today feeling justified. I felt ashamed. I realized that especially now that I am a mother, I want to be modeling the right thing. So next time I run into a rude person I will try to swallow my pride, bite my tongue, respond in kindness, and remember the little eyes watching me...


Anonymous said...

I completely understand where you are coming from! I hate it when people leave their kids in the play area and I feel like I have to watch them. I also understand how I HATE SHOPPING with my kids and would love to leave them somewhere... that's why I don't shop... Anyway, This may help you when you are in there and there are crazy kids running around. When they come near you, ask them their name and actually start a little conversation with the older kids. Ask them if they want to help show Gage how to slide down the slide nicely... Most of them have little siblings and will then realize that Gage is little (especially if you have Gage show how old he is or bring him into the picture). Usually by talking about school, home, fun things to do, they will respect you and Gage.. and chill out. They are looking for attention and love which they are not getting from the parent who left them. Then when you see the mom, you can make the comment, you have great kids.. and just leave it, then there will be a burden on her heart of why can't I see that or take them with... I have been in your shoes too many times and I have found this to work better than letting my ANGER (which I totally have) get the best of me.

Heidi said...

Great ideas Shelli! Now why didn't I think of that? :)