Friday, May 30, 2008
So...this morning I'm handed the Chanhassen elementary route...the one in the upscale neighborhoods where the mom's are not employed outside the home...you know the stops where when you pull up the mom's are all standing there with their tanner than tan legs, dressed in their black Nike jogging short-shorts, with matching black Nike jogging jackets, their crisp white running shoes, their hair pulled back up under a baseball cap in a pony-tail and their big dark sunglasses on...some have their husband's hunting dogs in tow, other's have their foo-foo designer dogs in arm - - and they either have their coffee mug or their bottled water in the other hand...and better yet, they each try to out-do the other when hugging or kissing or waving their child good-bye....and as I drive away something inside me thinks "Man, I'm glad I'm out of "that" stage of life". I don't mean to be cynical, because I'm all for Mom's being there when their child leaves for school each day... maybe it's guilt on my part, because not once for either of my kids was I ever there in the morning before school... I was always the one out driving that bus. BUT, it's funny to me in part, because I could take a picture at every stop and they'd end up being almost identical. Anyway, the point of my thoughts in this is there are also the other neighborhoods I drove in today that don't have any Mom standing there waiting with their child to hug them goodbye... those Mom's are either working outside the home or possibly still inside with a younger child, or still sleeping or simply just don't like waiting at a bus stop. So I pull up to one of those type neighborhoods to find 6 kids standing there alone.... 5 boys, 1 girl... all about 8 years in age. The girl has tears rolling down her cheeks. I have to try to deduce if one of the boys has done something to her to cause the tears, or if it's something completely different. I watch with interest as she gets on and gets seated as to how those 5 boys treat her to get a better take on the situation. Several of them just ignore her tears, yet there is one young man who keeps talking to her from two seats behind, trying to console her, and better yet, trying to help her problem -solve! Turns out, she forgot money for her field trip and the bus was coming and of course there was no Mom there to help her out, nor do kids this age have cell phones (well most of them). What caused me to stop and ponder this situation was the compassion the boy had for this girl. Not sure why I am so interested in human behavior this late in my life, but it fascinates me to observe people's behavior. I've always remembered when at MHS and one of my good friends was the counselor with the office next to mine and she would explain to me "all behavior is need based Sandi, when you figure out the person's real need, you'll understand their behavior, and if you can't stand being around their behavior it's OK to say "your behavior is getting in the way of our communication or any productivity in our relationship" and politely remove yourself from the situation". So anyway, I was impressed with not only the compassion of this young man, I was also impressed with the way he helped her problem-solve on their own. He offered up many suggestions as to what she could do once she got to school, and her tears dried up. Which brings up another issue I think parents are lacking in these days... teaching their kids on how to problem-solve on their own! Too many times, the parent just steps in and solves the problem for them, or steps in and doesn't let the consequences fall as they should, and we end up with a generation of kids who don't know how to figure out ways to what I call "self-problem-solve". SO! All this led me to think about compassion... do I have enough of it? Am I the kind of person who steps forward to help another in need? Then I thought about my own 7 grandkids... and I had to laugh because I could tell you right off the bat which one of them I know has the most compassion! AND I could also tell you which one of them has the attitude of "hey, it's not MY problem"....which led me to wonder, is compassion something you are born with? OR is it something your own path of life experiences has brought to your personality? Hummmm.... more thoughts to ponder on for the day... and if I had had any cash along with me on the bus this morning I would have given that little girl the money she needed for her big field trip day...but then I guess, I'd be problem-solving for her wouldn't I?