Little Lesson in Kindness

People can be shockingly unkind. Sometimes I almost forget just how hateful this world can be, especially since I’ve been a work at home mom for the last few years. I just don’t get out that much to interact with many people outside of my close family.

Things are changing now. My two children started school this week. Pre-Kindergarden and Kindergarten. So far I love their teachers. They keep me informed of what’s going on and they seem to love what they do. I have a lot of appreciation for those who work in education because their job is so important.

Even so, this experience has been difficult. One of my children is doing great, but the other is having some difficulty. He has needs that are different from most children, so my husband and I have been worried about him and we are trying to think of ways to work with his teachers as well as things we can do at home to help him overcome these challenges.

So, between this being their first week in school ever and trying to help our child settle in, its been an emotional week. Kids starting school for the first time is hard for most parents in general. When things are hard, it seems little acts of kindness and little acts of unkindness can have a larger affect on you.

I drive my kids to school and pick them up everyday. I wrecked our car last year, so it looks beat up. It runs fine and it is safe, but it is not pretty! So, that’s kind of embarrassing, right? That’s on my mind somewhat because people can judge these things.

Well, when picking children up in the afternoon, parents are supposed to go through a car line and place a tag on the windshield rear-view mirror. This tag has the child’s name and grade so the people walking the kids out know which car to take them to.

When I got the tag, it was just a blank, laminated tag. I got no directions for how to use it. I reasoned that I should probably put the kids names on it. I brought a dry-erase marker so if I messed up, I could erase it. I wrote their first and last names, grade, and teacher—just to be thorough. While in the car line, a woman walks down the row of cars and reads the tags off into a microphone. This lets those helping the kids to the car know that it is time to bring the children out. The first few days went fine.

The last day of school this week, Friday my husband is off from work. We had been talking about our child that was having trouble in school and going over our options for helping him. Do we just wait and work with him at home and see if he improves? Do we take him to the doctor for an evaluation? Will the try to push medication on our child, and is that something we are willing to consider? Should we pull him out and home school him? So much going through our minds. So much worry because he is so smart and we know he has this amazing potential, but we fear it will go un-nurtured because of his other difficulties.

My husband and I went together to pick the children up, and I noticed that the dry-erase writing on the car tag had worn off. I ran in and wrote their names, grade, and teacher—in permanent market this time. Well, I forgot the last name. I notice this once we were in the car line, but I thought, the woman who reads these probably will know who they are. She has seen us for a few days already, and not many children come out in pairs like mine. Also our car is hard to forget.

When it came time for the woman to walk to our car and read the name, she stopped, glared at my husband who was driving and said, “I need the last name. We have more than one kid with that name in our school.” The tone and look was filled with hate and condescension. She was so nasty about it. My husband apologized and said the last name. I know she heard him. Did she speak it into the microphone? No. She said the first names and the grade, then she said, “there is no last name” with that same what an idiot kind of tone. What was the point in that?

Top that off with the fact that my youngest is still a bit small for a booster seat, so when he is placed in the car I have to turn around and buckle him into a car seat. He can’t do it himself. Well, that does not go over so well. They push us through and say we have to pull over so the car line can keep going. It takes like 20 seconds tops for me to turn around and buckle him in. Big deal. So, we pull over, but not in the right place. We look like idiots again. Great.

Instead of condescension and purposeful unkind attitude, all that needed to be said about the car tag was, “can you please put the last name on for next time?” Then when told the name, speak it in the darn mic. Is a few seconds to buckle a kid in their seat really going to hold up the car line? If so, make your directions clear so it’s obvious where to pull off, or maybe when you put the kid in the car, buckle them in yourself to save a few seconds. Little acts of kindness versus unkindness.

These things are small, but when going through things that are big, these small things feel much larger.

For some reason, these little things really got to me. Maybe it’s because I will have to see these people everyday during the school week, and now I fear when I come they will think, Great. Here’s the idiot parent. Watch out. Really though, I think it was just because of everything else happening at the time, and just the fact that the bad attitudes were so unnecessary.

It’s amazing what small things can accomplish. Small words, both kind and unkind. Maybe the woman working in the car line was having a hard day. Even so, just because we feel bad does not mean we have the right to make others feel bad also. We need to be careful with our words, our tones, and our actions. We never know what someone is going through.

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Posted in Christian Love, My Journey / Christian Life
8 comments on “Little Lesson in Kindness
  1. truefaith101 says:

    Your story really touched my heart. People in the world can be so very mean. I pray that this woman handling the school car line was just having a bad day for that day.
    I am guilty sometimes of taking out my mood too on others. I am praying myself through this and asking GOD daily for a renewal of more meekness and praying for more patience too, nd discernment of just knowing when to speak and when to stay quiet.
    I am getting older and I am seeing the things that use to never bother me are bothering me now. I really think my patience is definitely not there like it use to be in certain areas, but I am seeing it and just taking it to GOD as I see it. I can only change me and how I react.

    If something is not explained properly, how do we know we’re doing something wrong until it happens? It sounds like you are a great parent. Don’t worry about it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda says:

    I wondered about that too. If she was having a bad day. I’ve snapped at people when having a bad day, but not with strangers, I don’t think. Not so readily and purposefully mean. At least it seemed purposeful. It’s hard for me to get, but I try to be compassionate. It does make me think about myself though and how I can do better with the people around me in general. Or just taking time to be purposefully kind rather than indifferent.

    Thanks for the comment, and I think most of us can grow in meekness and patience. I know I can! The when to speak and stay quiet thing is good for us to learn also. I’m learning too!

    Like

  3. While every family is different, we thank God every day for our decision to homeschool. Our kids were in 2nd and 3rd grade at the time. Dealing with the hardness of the world had made the lights start to go out in our little one’s eyes and that just about killed us. Then we realized it did not have to be so.

    Our youngest son, particularly is sweet and has a personality that just shines. He is also super talkative, super affectionate and has some learning issues. He would have been eaten alive in public school. He is awesomely him and happy at home.

    Just one recommendation. Sorry you are dealing with the meanness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for the comment. Homeschool is something my husband and I have discussed, and it is a possibility I’m all for. My husband is not a Christian, so we do not always see eye to eye. He wants them in public school, but he seems to be considering alternatives. At least for our child that learns differently, and I do fear kids treating him terribly. I’m glad you found something that works for your family, and I completely understand why many parents, Christian parents in particular, choose to homeschool.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca Hall says:

    Very well said. You are an amazing mom. Just know that and keep up the good work! And you are so right. We must all be more careful with our words.

    Liked by 1 person

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These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things I hate, saith the Lord.  — Zechariah 8:16-17