A Small ThingWritten by Shantel Parks
“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” ~ Saint Basil
Everyone has those days. When they occur, I have come to find that kindness, in the form of small, little things, works wonders.
My son will tell you he knows this to be a fact. Recently, due to his grades and some choices regarding the consequences surrounding those grades, he has decided you really do get more flies with honey than with vinegar. I am sure that many mothers can relate to this – child does something wrong, you give a consequence and, surprise, surprise, child is angry with you. I think it is something that other mothers purposefully leave out in the telling of all their motherhood stories. Maybe it is because, like motherhood, you won’t really understand it until you are there, or it could be just an inside joke or something, but whatever the reason, I don’t recall anyone telling me about this craziness.
At any rate, my son ratcheted up the attitude a notch or two whenever he didn’t get what he wanted, or didn’t get to do something as a result of his grades. Ultimately, this left him with very few choices available when it came to free time – partly because he had so little free time as a result of earning so much work, and partly because he had eliminated many of his privileges. I was admittedly getting fed up with all of it as well, and I am human enough that his attitude was having an undesirable effect on mine.
So I found myself in that really grumpy place, where laughter is seldom heard and smiles rarely abound, but of snark there is aplenty. And it wasn’t just limited to my son, either. Oh no, I am an equal opportunity snarker and everyone in our house, as well as unsuspecting telemarketers, was subject to the crankiness. I recognized I was spreading my bad mood without discrimination and am old enough to know that this is always a bad idea. I decided that something needed to be done, so I was making a colossal effort to smile even though I wanted to scream. Just when I was at the breaking point, my 3 year came and gave me one of those squeeze-until-the-circulation-is-cut-off hugs, and said “You nice Mommy.” I melted.
As a result, I responded to my son’s attitude with love and smiles, and let him know he was welcome to be around the family when he could be pleasant. Taken off guard by my sudden about-face, he was naturally wary and repeatedly poked a stick at the snark monster since he wasn’t entirely sure it was dead, but eventually he came around. And in the wonderful way of kindness, he began to be sweeter and less argumentative over every little thing. I am happy to report that dinner that evening was a really lovely occasion and not the nasty event I had been dreading since I had picked the kids up from school. And even though I can’t be positive that the snark monster will not rear it’s ugly head at some future time, my son and I both know that some kindness can at least soothe the savage beast.
Have you had an experience where a kind word turned your bad day around?
Shantel's love of story began in her childhood with fairy tales. As a wife of 13 years and a mother of 4, she gets a daily sampling of the many genre's of story, including (but not at all limited to) - humor, alternate history, dramatic interpretations, tall tales, tragedy, and a smattering of anecdotes based on true stories. A sometimes blogger, a frequent do-it-yourselfer, and always fond of Cadbury Mini Eggs, Shantel can be found, most days, going 5 different directions, but usually ending up in her favorite place - at home.
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