After I picked the girls up at the bus stop this afternoon, I had to bring them back to work with me. This happens from time to time, and they actually don’t mind it. Afterward I treated them to a dinner out.

{Side story – One night the girls and I had just finished up a meal at a restaurant. On our way out we walked by an older couple who had been seated at a table near us. The woman stopped me and said, “My children never would have behaved so well at a restaurant when they were that age. Well done, you should be very proud.”

I beamed and said, “Thank you!”

Juuuust as we were nearly out of ear shot Beau says to me, “Boy, it’s a good thing she’s never seen how we behave at home!”}

So, back to tonight –

There we were, out at dinner. It really was the highlight of my day – hearing about school, playing tic-tac-toe…just being together in a relaxed way after a long day (which for us had started with some sibling squabbling, a missed bus, and me with a lap full of coffee).

The waitress came over to the table and introduced herself as Sarah. Ruby (8) would always prefer to have me dictate her order. For some reason she gets uncomfortable, but I encouraged her to speak up for herself. She nearly inaudibly, but politely, submitted her requests.

After I paid the bill, I got up and walked a few yards before turning to stop and wait for Ruby, who had gone back to collect her crayons from the table. Beau was ahead of us, needing to use the restroom. I saw our waitress approach the table and begin clearing it. It was then that I heard Ruby, in a sweet, clear voice, say to her  –

“Thank you, Sarah! Have a nice night.”

I have to say I was so proud in that moment. Yes, it was very sweet and polite, but also she had listened to and remembered Sarah’s name. She was grateful for what Sarah had done for us….bringing us our dinner, cleaning it up for us…

Yes, this is Sarah’s job, but...

Ruby appreciated it, and said so. 

Frankly, being kind to others – to everyone – whether they are serving you or you are serving them – to me that is a lesson that will be of more value in my daughters’ lives than anything they may learn at school.

It made me feel really good about how the girls see me (and I hope, their dad) operating in the world. There are lessons they are learning every day that don’t need to be spelled out – in fact, perhaps they are all the more meaningful when they aren’t. 

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