I have a love/hate relationship with my job. I hate the hours. I love the people I get to meet. Except….when I hate the behavior I see. This weekend, I had pulled some pretty yucky hours, which meant I was there late on a Sunday night. Because of the holiday, we were open til ten, and boy-oh-boy did I see some grumpy parents. One woman, though, has been on my mind all week. You see, she and her two girls (I guess they were both hers) were shopping for their last-stop-in-the-park souvenirs. They spent quite a bit of time looking for what they wanted. When they had finally picked out their purchases, they came up front and presented me with an assortment of stuff. One girl had apparently picked out well, in the mom’s eyes. She had a small purse and some candy. The other girl, however, had a different sense of what was important and had picked out a pair of ginormous sunglasses and an expensive bag of candy. Her mother looked at her and practically spit out the words, “You’re stupid!” I watched the little girl’s face drop and my heart broke. I wanted to grab the little girl in a big hug and tell her that just because someone else didn’t agree with her choices didn’t make her stupid. Or that even if her choices were stupid, that didn’t mean she was. What I did was stand there dumbfounded and pray they would leave quickly. And, I’ve prayed for that little girl every time I’ve thought about her.
And I’ve thought about all the times I’ve said something in anger to my children. Those times when I lashed out, not because they were that bad, but because I was in that bad a place at the time. And my heart broke again. My prayer for the little girl is that mom was just having a bad moment and that she hugged the girl and apologized and all is well. My prayer for me is that I will always remember the look on that little girl’s face when her mother told her she was stupid and that the memory will help me hold my (often unruly) tongue.
Words are powerful. They can build up or tear down. They can heal or wound. They can encourage or discourage. Words matter. I think maybe we can all use that reminder.
For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 1 Peter 3:10
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!