I was at our little downtown square tonight listening to a friend of mine perform with his trio the B-sides. Perfect night for that kind of thing; fall in the air, not a cloud in the sky and you could still be comfortable in a t-shirt.
My friend has always had a great voice, but I imagine like anything else if you keep at it things can improve and he sounded sweet and soulful tonight doing Beatles’ covers and other standards. There were a lot of young families out, which I always like to see, dogs and older folks too, enjoying the music and community.
At any rate my dog Totes and I were on the grass, where a lot of toddlers were playing. This one little fella took our picture with his toy camera, then he took it again after his dad or uncle told him to always ask permission.
Well that camera was a hot item and a lot of other kids were wanting to play with it. I kind of went back to listening to the music but turned in time to see this little blonde girl walk up and snatch that camera right out of the kid’s hands. Well he started to cry and went straight to his momma to complain about the injustice of this world.
Well, when the girl saw that parents were becoming involved she put on her good girl face and went up and handed the camera back to him. But, it was too late her mom showed up and both kids were getting lectures; one about sharing, of course, and the other about asking permission of course.
The mom’s were being kind about it, but you could see the kids shaking their heads yes, but their little souls were drifting off somewhere, wondering what the heck happened.
Now kids are pretty smart and have their own reasons for doing things, but they need help understanding themselves as we all do. Those were happy families for the most part, but my idea would have been either to let the kids sort it out for themselves, or ask some basic questions.
I used to walk dogs for the Humane Society when I was feeling better while homeless in Texas. This little girl was there every Saturday with her mom and just loved the dogs. Well one week she was being mean and nasty to the dogs. I talked to her a little about it and found out she had a party later that afternoon and was really nervous about whether she would be liked or not.
Now if I had given her the kind parental lecture about being nice to dogs she would have nodded her head yes like a “good” girl then when I was not looking went off and taken someone’s camera.
The boy might have eventually said something like, I did not want to share because I am angry my brother isn’t here. She might have eventually said, I took it because I had a bad day in school. The thing is when the real truth is allowed to emerge, it sort of takes the energy out of things and people who feel understood lose their angry fairly quickly, and don’t take each others toys.
Those kids were learning to be polite from their parents. We could all use a little less polite and a little more honestly I imagine. I don’t know how many of you people have worked or volunteered or gone to church somewhere where everybody is so polite and kind to your face, so much so that you kind of start to trust them.
But the thing is they want the camera or at least they think they do. They have probably had a full lifetime of suppressing their true feelings like those toddlers were learning to do and have no idea what they want or what they are really feeling.
Anyway, they see you have the camera, or have a better one, or see you know how to operate it better, or if they feel you ain’t sharing like you should, watch out. They will continue to be polite right up to the moment they cut your throat.
But the good thing to do is, and it is a true Christian thing, you admit to yourself, you have cut a throat or two in your time wanting to have the camera and have suppressed your feelings as well. You let yourself get angry, self righteous, then sad and pitiful, then you forgive them, and get back on the playground and play some more, hopefully having learned something about true kindness and telling the truth.