Mel and I went to Lowe’s again after work to get a bird feeder for our garden. As Mel was getting ready to pay, he says to the clerk, “I’m sorry but I forgot to tell you that I’m military (active and vets get 10% off), and the clerk asks for his military ID, gives him the discount, he pays and we leave. Usually he tells them before they’re done ringing up the items. The clerk made small talk with me but in all, probably 1-2 min delay in checking out. Upon seeing and hearing the conversation, the lady behind us, shook her head, quickly put her head down on her folded arms on top her cart handle like she just got put on time out. I felt a tiny pinch of humiliation as I am acutely aware of her body language. I didn’t see her eyes roll to the back of her head but it probably did. She kept her head down on her cart until we left.
My thoughts….If this woman is a parent and she reacts with this much drama every time things don’t go as perfectly as it should, how does she treat her kids and family? Her body language said we irritated and inconvenienced her because we took too long to check out. Maybe ruined her day. Maybe she called us names in her head just to vent. Or maybe she had a headache or having a bad life and this is my imagination.
But think about the impact of body language, words spoken and unspoken…. but shows up loud and clear. What are we communicating to our kids? Are we judging them or lifting them up?
Parents, we are responsible for our kids’ mental health. It is not easy and not simple but doable with God’s help. Never stop praying for your kids regardless of their age!. If you’re not sure what to do, contact your pastor or other resources for help. Reach out and get support.
Community, it takes a village to rear kids. Mentor, coach, spread some kind words to strangers - adults and kids. Learn to make small talk because maybe you’re the only one they’ve connected with in a while….Greet people, greet strangers, ask them how they’re doing…smile, compliment them, and let’s show kids and strangers some love.
We can either do this alone or we can ask for God, the Holy Spirit, to help us take care of our kids….even the ones we don’t know. I think getting God’s help works better. Do step out of your comfort zones and connect with those kids serving you in restaurants, or cashiering at the grocery. Notice them. Look them in the eyes and acknowledge their presence…and smile to say hi! Sometimes kids just want to be seen.
Let’s show up and make a difference starting today. - Juliet Santos