This weekend, like every weekend, I went to Walmart to re-stock my pantry for the upcoming week. After carefully selecting my food items, I got in the shortest line I could find. When I arrived at the register, I noticed the cashier was an attractive teenager with gorgeous red hair and a nice smile.
I greeted her and she barely acknowledged my presence. If you have read my blog over the years, you already know I make a point to speak with people in a store...especially the cashiers. I tuck away distracting devices and am intentional about addressing and speaking to people I come in contact with. I am always amazed by the number of people I see that don't acknowledge a cashier's service or take the time to step away from their phone to say hello. This is the first time I have had a cashier actually ignore my greeting.
At the end of our transaction, I paid my bill and went to put my wallet in my purse. As I was standing there, she put a gift card down in front of me. I made reference to the card and asked her about it.
She responded, "You're done."
I was a little taken aback. "Okay, but you just placed this card here. Is this for me?"
She rolled her eyes. "You are done. Move on."
I really was speechless. In the next few seconds, I considered my reaction. I have come a really long way from my New England roots. 20 years ago, I certainly would have immediately addressed it...matching her nasty unkindness with my own.
So I stood there and waited until I decided on my response. I moved forward a bit and then the cashier said to the woman behind me, "That lady actually thought that card was for her." She laughed and the other woman laughed too, making a smart comment about how ridiculous people are these days.
Oh my goodness this little pumpkin was looking for a smack down.
I decided to continue on. I have to admit, I was flustered...mainly because I had every right to complain and address her rudeness. One of the things I had to evaluate in those first few seconds was if a complaint was really going to impact her behavior. I decided that it would not have a lasting impact. I was not her mom or her boss. I didn’t have any influence in her life that would cause a heart change. Although she was pretty on the outside, her actions and her words were unkind and ugly.
I would love to say this only happens once in a blue moon, but that isn't so anymore. Many times I come in contact with young people who are just unkind, lack patience, or are inconsiderate. I promise, I have no plans on ruining anyone's day or stealing a gift card at the register...right in front of cashier.
Often I will hear someone say, "They really are good kids." after an incident similar to this, as if making this statement nullifies their rudeness. Listen! We have to wake up and stop justifying the way our young people are navigating this world. One day it will be my son or daughter working the register, or behind the secretary's desk, or in a uniform and they will need to know how to talk to people around them. As a society, we are doing young people an injustice by not raising the standard for how they speak to their friends when they play video games or how they shake an adult’s hand like a limp noodle without eye contact or how they speak to their teachers.
When my son was in the 1st grade, he had another boy tell him that he hated his mom. I had addressed this boy’s unkind behavior in my home the day before. I remember when I talked to his mom about it, she said, "He is only 6. He doesn't know better."
What age are we expecting our children to "know better?" I agree that at 6 they are still learning and will make mistakes, but if we don't take the opportunity to teach them what is right and wrong at 6...they will still be saying similar statements when they are 10. Sinful, unkind behavior doesn't just go away with age. Unkind behavior actually gets worse with time and age.
I have been told I am too hard on my kids. When it comes to how they treat others, I do have high expectations. I don't expect my children to be perfect and I know they will make mistakes, but one of my jobs as their mom is to help them become fantastic adults who treat others with respect and kindness.
Fantastic adults don't roll their eyes at people.
Fantastic adults look for the good in others.
Fantastic adults make eye contact when speaking.
Fantastic adults acknowledge when they are spoken to.
Fantastic adults make others around them feel valuable.
Fantastic adults don't react, they wait (and breathe) before responding.
Being an adult is tough. It is even harder if you don't have the necessary skills to thrive in relationships with people around you. Love your kids enough to have the difficult conversations when you see them treating others unkindly. Start when they are small, continue through middle school, and keep talking to them through high school.
Don't treat your child like a fantastic adult...until they are one. ♥️
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.