My constant questions and impatient requests to hurry ceased to stop the afternoon that I was standing in line at the grocery store with my young children.
My 4 year old and 6 year old were counting their change to offer to the clerk for their exciting purchase. They had been saving their offering money for a long time, and were waiting for the perfect opportunity to bless someone. They had chosen to purchase needed items for the animal shelter and were very excited about it.
As they delicately counted their money, the way that young children do, the line of people standing behind us got longer and longer. My anxiousness grew quickly as their faces changed to reveal impatience, and stances grew colder as each second passed.
Every part of me was ready to grab their $ out of their hands and count it out quickly. I would hand it over to the woman behind the counter as fast as I could, while simultaneously apologizing over and over to the disgruntled people standing in line. I could not bare the thought that we were making people unhappy.
We are taught to model patience to our children by allowing them to move at their own pace. We are instructed by educators to allow life experiences to teach children, such as learning money skills with actual purchases, But when you set out to accomplish these great feats, you sometimes don’t calculate the problems that arise as you are teaching these concepts. My first thought is generally geared towards pleasing those around me.
“Hurry, let’s quickly pay this woman so that the people behind us don’t have to wait!”
But in that moment I realized that I’m teaching them something else that will transfer to them if I don’t grab hold of my issue and shut it down. I’m teaching them that they are less important to me than a stranger.
I’m showing them in real-time that speed and moving quickly is far more important than care, love, and patience for those less able to do a task. I’m creating a thought process that speaks that it is better to make people around you happy, no matter the cost.
If I choose to let anxiousness rule over me and stranger’s impatient looks dictate my actions, I cannot tell my children to open the door for an elderly person and wait for several minutes as the older woman struggles to get to the door. I cannot teach my daughter to be patient with her brother as he tries to get a story out of his mind and into spoken words.
Our culture has become very entitled and expects all things and all people to be fast-paced. That is not realistic, as we were not created to excel in all things, at all times. If we were, there would be no need for a savior.
Creating little people that grow up to serve and love others where they are at, rather than where we think they should be? Is that my desire? Then I have to model that.
So in that moment, I decided that today would be the day. Today I would be that mom that doesn’t make decisions to influence what others think. Today I will be the mom that encourages her children to count their money rather than to hurry. Today I will choose my children over the positive thoughts from a stranger.
We are raising warriors, children that will love and serve others. Children that will grow to see people rather than to pass over them or judge them. So if you were that person standing in line and annoyed at having to wait an extra 5 minutes at the check-out stand that day.. I’m sorry that you had to wait an extra 5 minutes, but I’m happy that you got to see love-in-action.