Why is it that people (in general) find it to be easier to be coy or sarcastic as a way of starting conversation versus kind and truthful? As often as I am out with my kids, someone is instigating conversation with us--usually me. And typically, this "converstation" (if it could be defined as such--the quick exchange of words between two entities unfamiliar with each other about nothing in particular) is usually begun with some kind of meant-to-be-funny comment.
Graeters. You know, the real ice cream parlor kind of place. Jacob and Liz had generous sized portions of their favorite ice cream and Nick had a sugar cookie. Ken was out the the two older boys so I was trying to do something special for the other three. Everybody was very good and we enjoyed our ice cream and our conversation. On the way out, a middle-aged woman (who was there with elderly parents) said as we walked by, "Wow, Mom, taking three kids out for ice cream...." I, of course, smiled and replied, "And we managed to escape without any major catastrophes!" Trying to play along (why do I feel compelled to play along out of politeness?). To which she replied in the Voice of Impending Doom, "Yeah, but you still have to get them buckled in." Albeit, with a totally serious and somewhat scornful face.
I realize that she thought she was saying something witty and really not at all harmful. But for some reason that really got me. Partially because I wondered if she was watching me all the way to the car for some sort of meltdown that would require dragging one child by the arm, screaming and yelling at the other, baby crying on my hip, and losing all the contents of my purse.
No such thing happened. We made it into the car with no issues, as expected. But still, I felt watched. And worse, I got into the car feeling on edge. It put a damper on my perfectly peaceful night. Silly, I know. I shouldn't let dumb little stuff get to me.
Why can't we as a society build each other up? Why can't we say, "I'm impressed. I hope your kids are good for you on the way home." or "I remember those days, what a blessing!" or even a simple, "I hope they enjoyed their ice cream!" How hard is that?
Yes, I on occasion get those comments and I'm thankful for them. But they are far and few between.
Let us not be a society of negativism. Fight back! Be positive! Encourage someone you wouldn't normally think needs the encouragement this week.