I could have just put this as a comment on Mara’s post, but I already gave her two full paragraphs of head-nodding through text, and this may prove to be a rant of my own. So I’m playing it safe and making a new post.
If you read Mara’s post there, you’ll see it’s a rant about ‘kids these days’; predominately the trouble with youngsters and their relationship drama. Drama which should not be occurring–we believe–at their age. Along with that she talks about the lack of respect kids have for their parents, and that reminded me of something horrible that I witnessed at work a couple days back.
I was standing at my register during a slow hour when a man and his young daughter walked into the cafe. The man was overweight, but not by a lot, and his daughter couldn’t have been older than thirteen. As he saunters in, browsing our pastry selection (the bakery display was looking rather nice at that time if I do say so myself) his daughter walks straight up to my register with her arms crossed and starts ordering. She doesn’t wait for her dad, she doesn’t ask permission to order her soup in a bread bowl, she just assumes he’s going to supply her every whim and orders what she wants. And that’s exactly how she orders, too. Now it irks me enough when a full grown adult comes up and says, “I want this and give me that,” without so much as a pause or please to see if my fingers are keeping up with the order, but when a skinny little bur-at who’s using her father as an ATM does it, my ire is provoked. And when I’m angry, I’m sickeningly sweet. I couldn’t chew her out, because I didn’t want to embarrass her father any further by reminding him what a horrible job raising his kid he’d done. Come to think of it, I should have… but I really like my job and don’t want to lose it! That little twerp wasn’t worth my temper flaring.
But back to the story! I get through tapping in her soup and smoothie, and by this time her dad’s reached the register and has his sandwich picked out, so I ask if he’d like a 99 cent bakery treat in addition to that. He says he’ll have to look and goes back to the bakery display. At this, his daughter crosses her arms again and rolls her eyes with a
disgusted disgusting huff at his indecision. There was no one else in line. The food was already being made. That child was not starving or going to faint from standing a few seconds longer while her dad picked out a pastry. I was this close to coming around the corner and smacking that scowl right off her face. I wanted to so bad. Instead I waited patiently on her dad, and made a point of calling him “sir” and addressing him with any questions about the order rather than asking the delusional queen of the universe.
We returned to the register after I methodically wrapped his pastry, asked if he wanted extra napkins, asked if he would like to take a knife and fork with his treat, asked if there was anything else I could get him, and basically prolonged the girl’s agony as long as possible (yes, I have a bratty streak of my own) and finally we exchanged money for a receipt and his daughter trounced away with her straight blonde hair swishing like an invitation to be yanked. (Good thing I can’t be fired for the things I think. ;))
But that was not the last I was to see of Bratty McBratjeans. I had to make her a strawberry smoothie, “with whipped cream.” And yes, she said it in italics as if I wouldn’t understand otherwise. “And a strawberry smoothie, with whipped cream.” That was going to be my next question, numskull. But you wouldn’t know that being as you’ve never worked a day in your life and don’t understand cashier scripts. Once again, I had to bite my tongue so the words, “Youngling, I fear your rashness will hasten your fall to the dark side” didn’t escape from me. I also wanted to say, “I could poison your food, you disrespectful punk! Stand there while I tweak your ears!” but again… I like my job. :P
And guess what? I didn’t poison the smoothie. I didn’t spit in it. I didn’t put any less than a full serving. I didn’t even skimp on the whipped cream. I just shook my head mournfully at the state of modern youth and told the blender that I had to keep my cool and heap those biblical coals of fire over her head. The funny thing is, she didn’t do anything particularly bad to me. Sure, she was a condescending brat, but it was her dad she was dreadfully ungrateful to. That’s what ticked me off.
My family has never been wealthy by any financial reckoning. And even before there were 10 of us kids to split things between, my mother was always frugal with spending while my father took care not to reward us for greed. I learned when I was little that I couldn’t always have that gumball I coveted, or the cereal with marshmallows and toys inside, and when I was given treats it was all the more special. To this day, after having a job and knowing even more about the cost of a dollar, I’m absolutely thrilled when mum buys me a pancake breakfast, or dad stops for burgers on the way home from thrift store shopping. And to think that little girl’s dad was missing out on all that joy. What did he get for his pains? An eye roll, a condescending huff, and a wallet that was $15 lighter.
While I poured the strawberry smoothie from the blender into the cup, I thought about all the little goodies and toys my parents had got for me over the years, and how wonderful it was that they said no sometimes–okay, make that a lot of times. ;) The joy I had over my favorite brown-eyed, squishy bodied dolly would not have been so great if I had twenty more at home. The excitement I still feel over a smoldering corndog is not something I’d replace with over-indulgence on them as a youngster. All these thoughts mixed together and made me feel so very sorry for the girl’s dad. He was missing out on a lot by raising his daughter to believe it was okay to be self centered and covetous, and he wasn’t doing her any favors by it, either.
The run in with Little Miss Obnoxious ended when I handed her the smoothie and in my drippiest, most syrupy, condescending tone said, “Here you are, sweetie. Have a great day with your dad.” I held back the urge to say, “I hope you
I thank God for the mothers who come into my bakery with their strollers and arms full and can say, “No chocolate milk kids, just regulars today” without their kids spazzing out and demanding otherwise. I thank Him for the fathers that can look at a whining toddler and say, “No,” with a firm voice and that’s all it takes to hush them up.
I thank Him for my own mum and dad and I give Him all the credit for placing me in a family that was raised to be thankful.
So everyone with parents who ever bought you a toy, a meal, a car, or… whatever! go give them a hug and say thanks. Right now. Because relating this story has made me sad. And thinking of parents being hugged makes me a little happier.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!