As a single mother who worked full time and had a host of health problems to confront, I often felt as though my parenting duties were somewhat lacking. Any lessons for mannerisms and gentility seemed to fall by the wayside as I struggled to deal with the challenges of everyday life. My three kids always seemed to be fighting over something, and sharing was more of a hot topic of debate than a common courtesy in our household.
That is why it came as a mild shock to me on the day that my youngest daughter, Ericka, who was four years old at the time, sought me out give me one of her Lifesavers. The roll of candy that she clutched in her tight little fist had been a gift from my mother and she had been guarding it with her life. Her older siblings, Chaz and Cassie, had already eaten all of theirs without offering any to her, and she was determined that these spoils would remain hers alone.
“Here Mommy, you can have this one.” She said with honorable resolve as she placed the candy in my hand.
“Why, thank you Ericka!”
So, my lessons were taking hold, I thought as a sense of wonder and pride began to swell in me. My children were going to grow up to be civilized, sensitive human beings after all. Respect and tolerance would certainly be their forte, and they would go on to make huge impacts in the world towards peace and acceptance. This small step was just the beginning for bigger things to come, and I had the proof of the moment right there in my hand.
Ericka stood watching me intently as I popped the coveted morsel into my mouth and began happily rolling it about with my tongue.
“Mmmm! Honey, this is so good. Thank you so much for sharing with me!”
“Oh, that’s OK Mommy. That’s the one that I dropped in the kitty litter.”
Well, that would explain the extra crunchiness in the butterscotch flavoring. As I ran to the trash can to spit out my prize, I made a mental note to do less gloating and more investigating during any future acts of random childhood kindnesses.
(Photo courtesy of Candy Warehouse web site)