If you scroll through social media it is likely you will see at least one article about how someone did something callous to another human. Or you read about policy and corporate greed that completely negates the human side of working and living in America. Whether it be about immigration, fair wages, or equality a question that comes up often is ‘how can people lack compassion?’. Well, I’m glad you asked. Of course I know that this complex question doesn’t have one easy answer I am here to give one suggestion on how to make sure tiny humans can grow with compassion for humanity.
Situation: Dining out— Kids are mess tornadoes. This is a scientific fact. Have you ever looked on the floor under a table in a restaurant with kids? It’s a crime scene. Bread crumbs, balled up napkins, crayons and whatever else that might be in arms reach. Now ask yourself how many times you have seen the table left in the condition for the server to clean up? Be honest, it happens all the time. While you can’t stop the inevitable mess you can choose to handle the situation differently. Clean it up.
“But I leave a good tip!” As you should and you will get no pats on the back for doing what you are supposed to do from me. Wait staff and servers live off tips and in some situations their paychecks are actually zero dollars after taxes. Tips are how they pay bills, buy school clothes, and all the other necessities of life. If they have to take 10 min to clean up after your kids it interferes with their ability to service other patrons and possibly effect those tips. Clean it up.
“But that is their job.” Oh really? I have had to explain this to my 4 and six year old and I’ll explain it to those who feel the same. Their job is to service you and help you have and enjoyable experience. That does not mean you should treat them as your personal slave. It’s easy to make a mess and be overly demanding when you only look upon that wait staff in a service capacity instead of hard working people. I make sure my children know and understand this. They must be patient and respect that their wants and needs will be addressed in due time. All messes will at least be attempted to be cleaned to the best of their ability. And most importantly they must be respectful and appreciative of the work being done for them. They aren’t too young to understand that regardless of your role in life all people are equal and should be treated as such.
How does this encourage compassion and humanity? It teaches basic human value and appreciation for contributions despite station or class. A child learns their comfortable existence isn’t in a bubble and that the life they enjoy is because of the hard work of many others. Small impressions are made through our everyday experiences and we often times get overwhelmed in our crazy parenting whirlwinds and forget about these little nuances. We shape how our kids view and treat others and we can make sure the world is a much better place with just a few small gestures.