Yesterday Dan and I went to a Ross store and we were waiting in a very long line to make our purchase. I love Ross stores and will miss them when the day comes we move away from them. However they can be very congested on the weekends and yesterday was no exception to that. The lines were long, and sadly anytime you pack people into a store promising them a good deal they can act less than their best. While we were in line waiting I had noticed a young boy who could have been no more than five. He was sitting down playing around the line. I was sure that somewhere near were his parents, and didn’t think about it until a store worker appeared to take him to find to whom he belonged. The boy was playing with some toys near the line, and it appeared the parents/guardians had left him there.
When Dan and I finally got to a register was when the explosion of anger seemed to echo off the store walls. What appeared to have happened was this same little boy who wasn’t being watched ran up and spit on a large adult who to me had the appearance of once being a body builder. This man had a right to be upset that this boy ran up and spit on him, but instead of handling the issue with a calm voice and with a shred of character this man starts yelling, screaming, and flinging curse words at this little boy. I’m not sure what I would have done in either sides shoes, but if a very large man came charging at my child that would automatically put me on the defensive. I’d rush in like a momma bear and protect my cub. Don’t get me wrong, the kid would have been in trouble later, but no stranger is going to come at my child looking like he’s going to pummel him. The scene boiled up like a volcano and exploded all over the store. Onlookers, Dan and I included, stared in horror and shock as the man kept trying to lunge at the parents of this child. The parents were screaming at him. Security was called, and then more security. All the while the man kept screaming and cursing insults at the kid and his parents for not teaching him what he did was wrong. In the end the man was asked to leave, which he did yelling all the way back to his car. The Ross employee that was waiting on us apologized to us, which I thought was rather nice and courteous of him.
This man had every right to be upset. This child was poorly behaved; I had noticed that and his lack of someone watching him when I saw him. I’d be mad to if some child came up and spit on me. Perhaps I would have tried to speak with the parents, but I’m not sure how I would have handled it. However it was how the man handled it, that wasn’t okay. I know from his lengthy yelling and the F-bomb flying, that he wanted these parents to be training this child that his actions weren’t okay. I get the frustration. Poorly behaved children drive me bonkers too. Sometimes I just want to yell to people scriptures about how if you don’t train your children right the Bible says you must hate them ( Deut 7:14, Psalms 127:3-5, Esp. 6:1-3, Proverbs 22:6, and the list goes on ) That’s not saying I’m a perfect parent, but sometimes I get how annoying misbehaving children without parental guidance can be in society. I just want to start handing out copies of books like “Boundaries with kids” by Cloud and Townsend, any books from Dr. Dobson, or How to Train Up a Child by the Pearls.
The problem here though was this man’s approach. While he was right that child was out of line and someone needed to teach him that, he went about it all wrong. Those parents and that child will never believe anything he said because of how explosive it got. There is a reason the Bible is very clear on how to handle situations that could become explosive…
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
I wanted to bring all of this up just to remind us all that there are two people in any argument and I have seen in my own life time and time again, that if I can tactfully respond in love that many arguments that could turn explosive don’t. Consider a gentle answer to be like a bucket of water on a lit fuse to a block of dynamite. If one can learn to curb their flesh and respond with love and kindness, the explosion never happens. I think that this is a lesson we all can work on and improve in. May you remember this the next time you just want to explode, even if you’re right, avoid coming unglued because then anything you say in the situation will be mute. There is a testimony in your mouth that people need to hear. So be on guard from fleshing out and exploding.
Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!