We’ve all heard the expression “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
As parents, we have a decision to make when the milk spills, or in this case, when a blue and red slushee makes a mess. We can respond with anger and frustration—which is the most natural reaction—…
or we can teach kids a lesson in responsibility.
While sitting in a cafe at Target in early August, Kalynne Marie witnessed the latter.
A man and a young boy who Kalynne assumed to be his son, walked into the food court area for a snack. Minutes later, she watched something beautiful unfold.
“I just witnessed a boy, maybe about 6 or 7, accidentally spill a slushee everywhere,” she writes on Facebook. “I’m talking blue and red goop all over the floor, the table, everywhere.”
Like most kids do when they know they’ve done something “wrong,” the boy immediately looked up at his dad and began apologizing for the mess.
“Instead of getting angry, his father just said, ‘Hey, it happens. Let’s go get napkins and I can show you how to clean it up.’”
Kalynne says she watched as they calmly walked over to where the napkins were, collected a handful of them each, and together they cleaned up the entire slushee mess.
“Then, as they were throwing the napkins away, the father said to his son, ‘You’re going to be a human being for a long time, and you have such a smart brain that it’s important you learn how to be more aware of what you’re doing. So next time just be sure to pay more attention to your surroundings so accidents like this don’t happen. Accidents like these can be prevented, but it’s still okay if they happen. As long as you take responsibility for your mistakes, the clean up is a breeze.’”
As a single mother to a 2-year-old son, Kalynne admits that it can be difficult to keep calm the way this father did. Which is why she closed her post by declaring this dad’s reaction as “parenting done right.”
A while later, she updated her post—still watching the father-son duo in the cafe—with one final blurb of encouragement she heard the dad give to his son.
“I know big messes seem overwhelming and you might feel like you can’t do it by yourself,” he tells his son, “but it’s always okay to ask for help. There is no problem with asking for help when you need it.”
I think we can all agree that there is a lesson to be learned from this man. Kalynne hopes her post finds its way back to the father someday, and that he knows how much he inspired her.
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