Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kindess at the Checkout Counter

This was posted on a Yahoo group that I'm part of by a woman named Cath. It was originally in response to a younger military wife who has five children. The issue was that she was embarrassed at the commissary check out register because so many of the items that were WIC approved at the local Wal Mart were not okay at the commissary for some reason. Cath put out this post as a reminder to us all (and echoing the general support of this poor young wife) - I asked her if I could share her words here as we approach the holidays and as our economy continues to slide. Please share with others, so that all may be blessed.

(no pictures today while I am on a different computer - my laptop will be righted again soon as will my 2000 pictures therein!)

~ Melissa 

***And also this is a good reminder for those of us not in your situation
to POLICE OURSELVES. Stand up for the mom with a full cart, busy kids, and
a blur of coupons and/or WIC slips. They are not a nuisance, they are our
sisters in this military family. We should never get so old and comfortable
in our pay grades (which all started equally teensy) that we forget the
struggles of the early days of babies and military life. So how can I with
22 years in and kids who are 10 and over help?

Help a mom unload her cart. I get my kids to help the people behind us in
line often. Sometimes they have babies and busy kids, sometimes it's an
older person.

Help a mom engage a child in line. My oldest is a pro at playing peek-a-boo
with toddlers. She has even squatted down to floor level in long checkouts
and played finger games (itsy bitsy spider) to help keep the kid focused in
place.

Compliment the mom! Do you remember how hard it is to carry a diaper bag,
chase a child with another one latched on nursing, and not lose your place
in line? Well, remember quick and offer the mom some loving affirmation.
Even or especially if she is doing an imperfect job! That mom whose
frustration level has her standing there yelling at her kids may well have
been up all night with a child throwing up and a husband deployed and the
rumblings of her own stomach getting the virus. Don't assume you know white
trash when you see it (or brown trash or Asian trash.....). You do not know
their life story but you can remember your own. Reach down into your soul
and affirm that girl: offer empathy, share warmth.

Reassure the person ahead of you in line with an issue that "it's just a
checkout line" and that you are in no hurry. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A BIG HURRY
because ladies--- it's just a checkout line and scowling and muttering does
not make it go faster.

And finally, when you can, be generous. Last winter I was at the checkout
with a mom getting just bread, peanut butter, jelly, and milk. It didn't
even cross my mind that she was a WIC mom because she had a credit card.
Reading up on this, that is what Texas has is a card system. She must have
had the wrong bread or was at her bread limit or whatever -- I thought her
debit card was at its limit because she was handing the bread over to the
checkout lady to reshelve it. I butted in and said can I get that for you
and handed her a few dollars. For me it was no big deal. She hesitated and
I said, I would love to be able to help, I've been there, too. She looked
uncomfortable accepting but she did. If we can fund a federal government
program to support young families in need with our tax dollars, why can't we
also start even closer to home with our neighbors in the checkout line? We
can't always do this but when you can, people, be generous.

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