Last night in Target there was a little girl dancing around in the aisle. She banged into some medication that went everywhere. She stopped and looked at it. Her Mother than came to see what she did (She'd been on the other side of the aisle). She looks at her, and asks to clean it up. Granted she was speaking a language I couldn't understand. But there was no raised tone to her voice. Nothing that sounded like yelling. And the daughter sang as she put the items back. So it didn't seem as if anything mean had transpired.
At a grocery store one day there was a Mom who spoke so gently and respectfully to her toddlers (who were clearly not happy to be there). I had to comment to her what a wonderful job she was doing, how refreshing it was to hear a Mom speak so lovingly. She was also pregnant. She thanked me for noticing and the encouragement. And said how sometimes it's was hard with being hormonal and tired but how much she tries.
Last week I was at a different Target (hum... It would seem I spend a lot of time in Target.) And there was a Mom and her maybe 4 year old son at check out. As Mom was checking out the little boy begins to yell as loud as possible about wanting to do something, the something I could not make out. You know the yell where everyone in the store stares at you? What impressed me was how this Mom didn't lose her patience. She bent down, handed him a quarter and explained something special about said quarter. He stopped yelling and held his treasure quietly. When he began to yell again. Mom bent down and told him more things about how they could use this quarter. Which made him quite happy.
I encountered this Mom at the cart return after her son was in the car. I commented how awesome she was with her son and how nice it was that she spoke to him so kindly and didn't yell. She said I was so sweet and smiled from ear to ear. She explained she was not always so gracious in her responses to him.
Anyway what is the point of this post?
Well the point being, someone is always watching, seeing and hearing how you parent. And when you can't physically see another person, God is always watching you.
Something to ask:
1. Would I speak this way to my child in front of a stranger at Target? More so would I speak this way if Jesus was physically next to me?
2. And If I did, what would that stranger think of me? What would Jesus?
3. Would they be so moved at how gently and respectfully I interacted with my child that they would comment on how I kept my cool? Would Jesus give me a high five and say "way to go Mom?"
4. Or would they think, ugh this Mom was so mean, how sad for her children?
And yes I know we are not supposed to judge other people. But like it or not it happens. People base an opinion on you based on those few minutes they see of you. That's all they have.
So with that in mind. Why not show your gentle parenting in its full glory as you are out and about with your kids this holiday season?
Parent like someone is always watching because someone is always watching, one of your other children, your spouse, a stranger, God.