Convictions & Comforts · World Away From Word

And a strawberry smoothie WITH WHIPPED CREAM

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.

I want the world! I want the whole world!

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 don’t choke.”

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.

Psalm 107:8
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

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14 thoughts on “And a strawberry smoothie WITH WHIPPED CREAM

  1. AAAAH yes. I totally agree with you. I had a really hard time at work when little kids came in and screamed and got what they wanted. Or at Grocery stores, when the mom says “no, no candy” and then the kids whines, and the mom gives in. It’s like… WAIT… you just told that kid “no” and now you’re saying yes? How is that okay?

    *sigh*
    Kids these days. :D

    1. I guess they didn’t watch enough Willy Wonka as new parents. :P But yes. That all frustrates me so much.

      If there’s one good thing that girl did, it was make me feel all of 20 years. I usually feel like a child in a sea of adults, trying to swim with the big fish. But this tadpole made me that much more secure in my maturity. NOT to be prideful… but you know… I felt pretty good about not saying something regrettable. :)

      Hehehehehe. YEP!

      1. Bahaha! Tadpole…

        I’m proud of you for keeping your frustrations concentrated on the blender. :D And for not poisoning her smoothie.

  2. “Train up a child in the way he SHOULD go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

    It is WORK to raise children to be respectful and most importantly become godly, productive adults. I love that you have heeded our instruction and show the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  3. Great post, Bethany. I love what Your Mom said above; it is work to train our children and not give into their every whim. I love my kids so much that I am tempted to give them treats more often than I should, but what kind of mom would I be if I taught them that they can have anything they want, whenever their fancy? And like you said, those few times when we do get a special treat mean so much more to them.

    1. I was greatly encouraged by reading your blog and browsing some other Christian homeschool moms in the blogging world. :) It made me feel there is hope! Plus, all the pictures of the kids makes me go, “Aaaawww!!”

      God bless homeschool moms!

      About the special treats… I nod in earnest as I eat a Snickers bar I splurged on today. ;)

  4. I love this entry and I couldn’t agree more! :) I work as a receptionist in a martial arts centre where we have some kids classes, and I also frequently witness very strange behaviours or facts… Like kids taking beverages BEFORE asking their parents to pay for it (and even just asking your parent to pay for anything, rather than *if* they can pay for it is… incomprehensible?), or kids interrupting their parents and talking louder than them… Seriously? *shakes head*

    My parents were poor when I was little too, and I remember being frustrated because all the other kids always seemed to have more things than me, real houses with real furniture, etc. But now that I’m a grown-up and I look back to it, I’m glad, and I’m proud.

    Slightly off topic, we also didn’t have TV for a long time. And guess what? I survived! It now seems that all I hear around me are people afraid that kids who grow up without TV become antisocial. It’s a tough job explaining to them exactly *why* they become antisocial, that a no-TV rule has little to do with it, and it’s usually the parents’ general paranoia doing the job. Well, parents who fear that their child will be misfit because he didn’t watch TV are *just as* paranoid IMO.

    Parents need to stop being afraid of their own children. They need to learn how to love them. Love is not consenting to somebody’s every whim and being accommodating all the time. Ah, *love*… Sorry, I have to quote:

    “Jesus was a supreme adept, by God, on a terribly important mission. This was no St. Francis, with enough time to knock out a few canticles, or to preach to the birds, or to do any of the other endearing things so close to Franny Glass’s heart. […] If God had wanted somebody with St. Francis’s consistently winning personality for the job in the New Testament, he’d’ve picked him, you can be sure. As it was, he picked the best, the smartest, the most loving, the least sentimental, the most unimitative master he could possibly have picked. And when you miss seeing that, I swear to you, you’re missing the whole point of the Jesus prayer. The Jesus Prayer has one aim, and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness. Not to set up some little cozy, holier-than-thou trysting place with some sticky, adorable divine personage who’ll take you in his arms and relieve you of all your duties and make all your nasty Weltschmerzen and Professor Tuppers go away and never come back.”

    (J. D. Salinger, in “Zooey”)

    1. I do appreciate the fact that we live in a country of wealth and freedom, but it pains me to see how parents abuse that. If they’d just learn to say no! And mean it when it’s spoken!

      It’s true. Growing up with less provides ample lessons of how to share, how not to be excessive, and the value of good hard work.

      Okay, the TV thing makes me laugh from the irony. I mean… antisocial? Really!? I doubt you could call a child antisocial who once hopped a fence to hang out with the neighbor kid because she wanted to share her dollies. And okay, I was allowed to watch Barney and Little House on the Prairie, but mum’s shutting it off never deprived me of a social life. I mean come on! How is watching fiction on screen preparing kids to interact with other humans? I’d be far more wary of raising kids ON TV rather than off of it.

      Wow, I really love that quote! Thanks so much for sharing! Great stuff. :)

  5. Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Curious. You give passing acknowledgment that it is the father’s fault that his daughter is the way that she is, “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…” and “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.”, yet the rest of the entire rant is against the little girl?

    Then you treat the father with the utmost respect and compassion, “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.” and “…all these thoughts mixed together and made me feel so very sorry for the girl’s dad.” Curiouser and curiouser.

    I wonder why that is……? I’m thinking that it is because when you see a “father”, you see your father and he has shown you your Father. And when you see a little “bur-at”, you see yourself and can’t imagine treating your father that way after all that he has done for you. This little girl probably has not been shown her Father by her father.

    My angst is reserved exclusively for the father. I would have liked to have told him to pull his head out of his “not by a lot” overweight body and love his daughter. And love has nothing to do with money! At. All.

    (bytheway,Icouldn’thelpbutthinkthathemustnothaveboughtmuchifheonlyspent$15atPanera!)

    This story has made me sad too, but for the little girl who probably would give anything to “Have a great day with her dad.” I know I’m sounding like a bleeding-heart, but my heart does bleed. In this case it bleeds much more for the little girl than for her father (although there are a few drops in there for dad too).

    You know that I’m a hugger lover. My hugs would most definitely be reserved for the little girl. (thenherdad)

    Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    1. I place the blame on both. I concede the majority of the blame lies with the father but I make no excuses for the girl, anymore than God allows excuses for ignorant wretches who have never heard of Him. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:20-21

      Her dad may have failed her, but I’m sure he wasn’t the only example she had to follow. Not sure where the mom was in the picture… possibly pursuing a career full throttle, but I simply do not know. Which is why I did treat the dad with respect. Since it wasn’t my place to say anything, I thought the only thing I *could* do was try to show them both how my daddy raised me to be. ;)

      And he spent around $15 on *her* alone. Which is three times as much as most parents spend on their 13 year old girls, even at Panera. That leads me to consider a level of overcompensation. Not that anyone who is generous is trying to overcompensate. I think you know what I mean.

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