I received the following e-mail in response to a Five Minute Friday post that I had posted months ago. I feel that the author makes some valid points and I want to pass on her thoughts to others who might be struggling with some of the same issues. I also encourage all of us to heed her admonishment to be careful of the way we treat others...especially the strangers that we meet along life's way.
My Own Five Minute Friday -
by an anonymous Hearth and Home reader
This is just a rambling from an overflowing spirit that needs perspective. It could be that I have been short on patience lately or that I am continually baffled by our society. But it seems every time I venture outside my door I find myself longing to be back home with my family so that I can shut out the madness and feel “safe”. Am I beginning to sound like a crazy?
I think that we underestimate the affect that we have on people, even strangers, by our words, attitudes and conduct. We live in a selfish, me-based society that seems to be getting worse. And the things that seem deplorable or that once were deplorable are becoming the norm and accepted, while the old fashioned values and salt of the earth people seem to be treated hostile.
I have had several experiences lately, all similar, and rudeness seems to be the new norm. We have a large family, not large compared to a lot of the people I know, but large for today's standard where the average for an American family is 1.9 children. (Don’t ask me about the .9 I have no idea.)
I try to not be a super sensitive mom that won’t take criticism about their children. And if a child is misbehaving I agree that they should be corrected. But my older children are very responsible in stores and my younger ones are still in training and stay with me. If they misbehave their father or I take them outside to the van and they don’t get to be in the store.
Despite however hard I try I still manage to have someone from the store approach me and make comments such as “children need to remain seated while in the cart” (while I am taking care of the problem) or “you need to have your children within an arms reach of you!” or someone yelling across the room at me “don’t let your children in the clothes rack!”
I don’t mind someone correcting my child, but in most of these cases we were just quietly shopping in the store and they made me feel bad for even walking in with my children. The topper was one thrift store that supports animals, which I am fond of...had cats roaming around the building...cat hair on items....and the cats were acting like animals, if you know what I mean. I look up on the wall and there is a sign...Animals Welcome...please keep children on leashes.
Animals are more welcome with all their animal tendencies than a child is. It makes me wonder about the hearts of these people. But for all this the verses come to mind how our words matter. Proverbs 12:18 - There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword...Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue:
We can make someone’s day or we can be that final nail in the coffin that sinks their countenance and ruins the day. All this negativity has made my soul to look up and ask that the Lord would make me to be a blessing to those around me. I don’t want to be affected by the negative attitudes of those out there. I am going to memorize and meditate upon Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
So, next time you’re out, try to think of something encouraging to say to that stranger. They just might be needing to hear a word of encouragement and that would make all the difference.