Parents, Think Before You Act

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Sitting on a jam-packed airplane headed home to LAX I glanced at the first class passengers. They looked more comfortable and were certainly being given attention that those of use in coach were not getting. But I didn’t care. I was on my way home after 10 days away from my husband, who I was overjoyed with excitement to see, feeling like a teenage girl waiting for her first date.

Suddenly I was jarred from my daydreaming about my man when a scuttle began between two passengers.

“That’s my son’s seat!” said the mom of a boy who looked to be about twelve.

“Nope. This is my seat,” proclaimed the very large man sitting across the aisle.

They both produced boarding passes with the same seat assignment.

“That’s my son’s seat!” announced the frustrated mom.

“I’m bigger!” declared the large man.

Feeling extremely awkward and wanting to disappear stood the 12-year-old boy. Another passenger instructed him to stand in front of his seat to get him clear of the aisle so the other passengers could get to their seats.

This Cheetah Mommy then tracked down a flight manager. “This man is in my son’s seat!”

I could hear the man occupying Cheetah Mommy’s son’s seat say, “I’M NOT MOVING. I saw this happen on a flight once and the guy had to get off the plane.”

I wanted to scream at the mom and tell her, “Stop fighting FOR your son and TAKE CARE of your son!”

And this poor boy stood there embarrassed by his mom and feeling so awkward. I could tell he wished for the superpower to disappear. He started to cry as his mom shouted at the seated man, “You made my son cry!”

Many of us were asked to show our boarding passes as the flight manager attempted to fix the riled up contenders. In this corner we have giant guy sitting in the aisle seat, not moving unless the plane were on fire, weighing in at 300 pounds. And in the other corner we have loud obnoxious mom weighing in at 150 pounds.

I was glad I had my boarding pass handy.

Then the flight manager announced to the large man firmly planted in his seat. “You were upgraded to first class.”

And faster than if the plane had been on fire the guy who wasn’t moving shot up out of his seat and was escorted to first class.

Entertainment over.

Why didn’t this mom just give her son HER seat while she sorted out the disagreement along with not acting in a way that humiliated her son? She was more focused on the fight than taking care of her son.

How often do we do this as parents? Fight for our kids and not consider how it will affect them. Sometimes fighting FOR our kids does more damage than working WITH our kids to resolve conflicts and disputes. We need to consider our actions and how they will affect our children. Fighting is not always the best course of action.

For example:

Running to the school and demanding action because of a wrong our child suffered. Instead consider this: Sometimes talking it through with your child is all that is necessary. We all need to learn to deal with difficult situations.

Getting angry at volunteers at church because your child didn’t get the attention they deserved. Step back for a moment: Don’t you think it is better for your child to hear you say thank you than to complain?

Complaining to the basketball coach because your child isn’t getting enough playing time. Time out: Instead wouldn’t it be better to have a talk about waiting for opportunity and then appreciate the coach with a Starbucks card or some home-baked cookies?

In our zeal to be good parents we need to be mindful of how our actions affect our children. I am reminded of a playground issue I got in the middle of which made things harder for one of my kids. Yeah, still carrying that one.

Keep your eye on the big picture of a child with good character, one who relies on God, and treats others with grace. Run your actions through that lens and focus on the end goal.

During the flight Cheetah Mom continued to prove herself obnoxious as she butted in on others conversations, loudly talked to the flight attendant, and always seemed oblivious to the passengers around her.

Upon landing, from across the aisle, she decided to attempt to start a conversation with me.

“Do you hear that guy on his cell phone? He’s on speaker! I’ve never heard anyone do that in a crowded plane.”

Looking at her with as little of an expression I could muster, “Hmmm. Interesting.”

REALLY LADY? Have a Clue!

Have a clue. Pay attention to how your actions will affect your child.

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