I came across a story this morning about the miserable time a CNN reporter had after a family with some unruly kids were seated near him in a restaurant. To counter this I’d like to offer the story of what I observed last night in my own grocery store.
I was tired and hungry and after I grabbed a shopping basket the first thing I heard behind me was “Daddy I want to eat this right now!” Oh great, I thought, this family will probably be getting in my way the whole time I’m here (it’s a small store). But instead of the parent telling her no followed by shrieking outrage, a very calm father said “You cannot eat it right now because that’s not what we do. Can you imagine what this place would be like if everybody was eating their food right now? That’s why we buy it here and eat it at home.” “Oh.” the girl replied, and then followed with “Daddy I want that!” He kindly explained to her why they weren’t there to buy that (I think it was cheese) that evening but they’d have it again when it was time to eat that. The girl then said “Daddy! I want apples!” and I could see her leaning over in the seat in her cart reaching for apples. “All right,” the father replied “would you like the sweet ones like Red Delicious or the tart ones that are green? They’re called Granny Smith.”
I had to leave then but getting to observe this exchange of a father engaging his daughter when she was asking for attention instead of fighting against her unstoppable amount of energy made my whole outlook a bit brighter. Bravo, anonymous dad. (And, yes, I’m sure the family is not always that calm.)