Kids are like wild tumbleweeds. They have a way of reminding you, who is really the student. They reveal you to yourself.
I was totally mesmerized as I waited in the checkout line at a local store. A mom with her three little masketeers, ranging in age from 2 to 6 years old, were ahead of me. Just the fact that these little guys were doing their part, wearing their tiny masks without a fuss, in very challenging times was momentous.
As she patiently waited for her turn, I could see her multitasking. She remembered something, shifted quickly, but her antennas well-tuned to her brood, redirected when the youngest wandered off from her side. While she gracefully rallied him back, her turn was up. She loaded the pails, shovels and summer activity tools on the counter. I couldn't help but notice her middle child, standing slightly behind, arms on his back hips. Our glances crossed. Then I saw it. The big lollipop hiding, carefully tucked in his left hand out of view.
I wondered if I should step in and nudge the mom but I decided to wait it out and see how the situation played out. The oldest sibling caught glimpse of the loot and pointed it out to his mom. Very calmly, she gently took the lollipop from his clenched hand and matter-of-factly said," oh no dude, you can't take that without paying, that's stealing. We have some lollipops at home." She continued with her purchase and off she went. They all left calmly and peacefully with no fit, protest or any inkling of a scene. Wow!
Some may argue, that style of parenting could come back to haunt her but I was just reminded of all the Bearenstain Bears books we read to our kids when they were little, trying our best to instill decent values. Life offers no guarantees but these masterful moments of nurturing even in what could have quickly escalated into a crisis, really impressed me.
There are different ways of approaching conflict and this mom modeled amazing restraint and love, in times that are certainly more challenging for her to keep her little ones safe. This was a good reminder, that even in these stressful times, we can choose patience and kindness to make our point, even and especially while we go about our daily business.