Home > Communication, Humor, Parenting > Burgers and smiles will do

Burgers and smiles will do

I was so excited my four-year-old son was learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t even think about exploring what he’d learned about “respect.”

7 mo bellyTonight, a little more than seven months pregnant and way more than a little achy, I opted for a rare treat: drive-through. I’ve been really good about cooking almost every single one of my own meals the last few months, so hey, why not get off my feet early for once?

After ordering, I pulled forward to the window. I handed my card to the young woman handling the register.

“I like her,” Li’l D reported as she raced away from the window to fill our order.

“Really? Why?”

“Because she’s cute!”

Well, that’s a first, I thought.

“You should tell her,” he told me.

“You should tell her,” I suggested.

“No, you please tell her.”

“Well . . . okay.” This is just the kind of thing Mom would have done. For Mom!

“Be sure to speak loudly so she can hear!” he instructed.

Li'l D and Cashier sittin' in the tree

Li’l D and Cashier sittin’ in the tree

When the cashier came back with my card and our food substitutes, I said, “My son wanted you to know he likes you and he thinks you’re cute.”ย She peered into the back seat and smiled at him as I continued, “He has never done anything like this before!”

“Thank you,” she told him.

“That’s respect!” he replied cheerfully.

As I pulled away, I briefly considered turning it into a teachable moment. I can be a little overzealous with my teachable moments, so this time I opted for tomorrow–or even next month–to dive into the real meaning of respect, and how it runs much deeper than outer cuteness.

Instead of sermonizing, I took my personal road less traveled, choosing instead to laugh and shake my head while thinking,ย We’re definitely going to have to work on that before you reach dating age.

But for now? Burgers and smiles will do!

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  1. kingmidget
    January 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    When my oldest was in Kindergarten and he went through his first school-based lesson on MLK, I was so blown away by what they were doing. When our kids are growing up in a world full of different colors, and that difference is reflected in their classmates, the simple lessons of MLK’s dream are so real and profound. I think it teaches so much at such a critical age. And, maybe what happened in the drive-thru is a small piece of that. Or maybe I’m going too far. I don’t know. But, your little story here is perfect and reminder of the innocence and beauty of children.

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:47 am

      It really does teach so much. Even if the lessons are different for younger kids than for older ones, the impact of that introduction is profound.

      I know Li’l D’s understanding of respect now is different than what it will be someday. I write down things like this in part because I hope he’ll see them someday and smile. Any which way, I am so glad for his sharing these things, and getting to see a little of the word through his eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. January 30, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Well said, KM! Deb, I think your son understands respect at more literal, “age-appropriate” level–respect means being nice to others. He made sure his message got delivered. Perfect! What a sweetie–makes me miss teaching kindergarteners who are innocent and honest. (well, most of them! :-))
    Touching anecdote and message, Deb, thanks.

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:48 am

      Last night I wasn’t sure, but this morning I think you are absolutely right. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I still can’t believe I used to dislike kids. I was clearly not seeing the whole picture!

  3. January 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    your tummy photo is super cute. ๐Ÿ™‚ and I enjoyed your post as well. i liked the part at the end where you identified your personal road less traveled and decided to take it.

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:49 am

      Thank you! I remember thinking parenthood would be all about me teaching a little one, but now I see I learn at least as much from him. Learning lessons like this–that sometimes it’s OK to walk away from a teachable moment–make life better for me and all those around me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. January 31, 2014 at 4:24 am

    You look so sweet! Love that tummy! And your little one, respectfully smitten. That’s great!

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:50 am

      Thanks! Up until a few weeks ago, folks kept saying things like, “You’re barely even showing!” I’d remind ’em the showing happens when the baby starts growing a third to a half a pound a week in the last trimester. Now it’s a little less ambiguous . . .

  5. January 31, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Aaaah, sweetie, you have lots of time to teach! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a cute moment, and so glad you just savored it, took a break, and enjoyed your food “substitute”. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. ๐Ÿ™‚ Need to talk and soon! XOXO-Kasey

    • February 1, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Yes! A and I were actually considering a trip up your way soon. Like, really soon. I’ll drop you a note when we figure our for sure, and will in the meantime try to enjoy more moments without looking for anything teachable in ’em! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • February 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm

        Ha, ha, great! My calendar is WIDE open, and on purpose, just for “last minute” plans and less stress. I’m loving it and would love, even more, to see you! XOXO

  6. February 1, 2014 at 5:49 am

    I continue to be fascinated by Lil’D, I think you are raising a young man who will become a great man.

    • February 1, 2014 at 7:49 am

      I hope so. When I see his acts of kindness, I think there are good things in store, and know there are good things in present. I am so grateful for this little guy, snuggled up against me now and full of adorable insights he is excited to share. Wonder where he gets that from? Hee.

  1. August 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm

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