Years ago, when I was barely out of High School and working at the Kroger Meat/Seafood department, I had a problem with some people. Let's just say that customers always "think" they are right and it is unfortunate that many managers, even when the customers are "wrong", agree that they are right. After a few weeks of some frustrations and getting grumpy with several customers, with no remorse I might add, my dear hubby informed me that I might want to approach this differently. Because we all know that when we are doing the same things over and over again, hoping for a different out come, we are INSANE!!! :) I really don't want that label. :-)

He informed me that perhaps I should look at these people the way God looks at them, as his children. He also said that if I did, that it might be easier to get through the day and know how best to handle anything that might arise in any given situation. So, I did. It wasn't easy and is still, to this day, not easy to do. But I believe that many of the "right" things to do are the hardest things to do. In theory they seem easy, but in practice?

I fell into my old ways in the beginning. I had two drunk guys come in asking what was in the seafood counter to which I replied "Fish" then they asked in their inebriated slur, "What kind?" and I quickly retorted as sarcastic as I could "The kind that swim in the ocean!" Of course they took the hint, laughed and were off terrorizing someone else that night. There were a few more instances where a customer  flew off the handle when I didn't have 4 of her lobsters cooked when she got there. A manager had told me to wait on her stuff until I could take care of the freezers that had stopped working, destroying over $1000 worth of food. The customer of course was livid and I couldn't do any explaining to her because her ears were steaming so much, she wouldn't listen. Another manager that was back there was livid with me as well (there were 2 managers over that area and they always had messed up communication that got a few people in trouble). I didn't like that manager if the truth be told. He still doesn't hold a dear spot in the heart...something I need to work on, forgiveness, I know. ;-)

Over a few weeks of trying to be kinder and trying to talk nicer about things, though I wasn't sincere about it at first, I soon became more sincere and was able to leave a nine hour shift with a smile. That was a feat! Fortunately, because of my attitude change and because I was the hardest worker, aside from the managers and old men that worked back there on the morning shift, they were sad to see me leave when I found a new job. They liked me so much that the Seafood Manager wanted me to open her counter...believe me she was a type A personality, so that was a huge compliment!

So, why am I sharing this story? Well...lately, our little world has been riddled with neighborhood drama. We have a couple of kids that are doing and saying things that we try to teach our kids to stay away from or be kinder with.

For instance we have a little boy that has been talking about how good alcohol is to our 5 year old. I took this child aside, just like I would my own, and told him that alcohol isn't good and that we don't need to be talking about it either. I was kind and spoke softly so that he knew that I wasn't mad at him. Just concerned. I am not sure that it really made a difference or not, but I am standing for my beliefs and teaching my kids to do the same. I have had to take several of the neighborhood kids aside lately through all of this and am encouraging them to speak kinder and use their words in whatever situation that arises. It is tough and it is time consuming, but someone has to know what is going on and take control. Otherwise fists might start flying. I know because when I was little I beat up a few boys over some rude things they said. They fought back...I know, hit a girl!?!  I won though, if that makes you feel better! :) That is how things were dealt with in my "southern gal" tom boy world, but I want to teach my kids that fists should only fly in self defense and we should make a greater effort to kill meanness with love.

Then we have a kid who is a lot older than our 5 year old, picking on him and talking smack all the time. Saying curse words to him and also physically threatening many of the neighborhood kids, including my own and has disrespected me, behind my back, which in turn hurts my kids feelings. The little coward...I guess all bullies really are. I've tried talking to him, but he has no respect. He thinks he is better and treats many of the kids that way. I don't understand fully why he is this way, seeing as he comes from a pretty Christian family, but to each his own.

Chad is so sick of it that he has written the kid a letter stating that he doesn't "respect" someone that disrespects his brother, sisters and mother and that if he doesn't stop then he might have to find new ways to make him stop. Although I thoroughly enjoy the fact that my child is a lot like I was has such unfailing love, devotion and loyalty to his family, we are trying to be like Jesus. He hasn't delivered the note since we sat down and talked things through, but he is holding onto it with an itchy trigger finger.

Like my sister pointed out to me, "I am a mother bear, but that kid also has a mother bear" and I think that as a mother, it is my duty to use my nurture, talents and experience to guide all on the right path with love. So, we have decided that we will talk with the parents tonight. If that doesn't work, then Chad will do what he has to do if that kid holds true to any of those physical threats. In the meantime we will continue to use the best weapon we have, LOVE, just have to make sure the sincerity stays with us!


karen said...

This is so fun to hear and read. I am glad you and your kids are standing up for what is right. You got good kids. When life settles up here we will have them over here. I think were safe.....most of the time.

snbjork said...

Good for you, Sharon! I know that's not an easy thing to deal with. I'll be very curious to hear how things go with your neighbor!

Sara said...

I hate neighborhhod drama too and you can never escape it unless you move. But then I guess there would be drama there too! Good on you for taking a stand. I hope it gets better soon.

Sarah (and a few others) said...

Sharon, I think you are an amazing person. And I'm proud of Chad. You know, that's what Abe Lincoln used to do when he was mad at people; he's write a scathing letter but never send it.

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