Choosing Kindness December 19, 2016 13:18

I was tired and crabby yesterday and knew I needed to go the store for wrapping paper. Turning into the Rite Aid parking lot, I was stopped mid-turn by a teenage boy in his cute little sports car in front of me. My van and I stuck out into oncoming traffic. But honestly, I had time. 

I honked my horn.

He turned around to see who beeped at him, and sat an extra 2 seconds to really annoy me.

He succeeded and we both pulled in, of course going to the same place. It’s easier to be a jerk from the anonymity of one’s car.

I got out. He got out. We looked at each other. “You can’t just sit in the middle like that, you gotta keep going,” I said, calmly.

“My car is really low to the ground,” he explained. ”I gotta go slow or I'll bottom out.”

In that moment, I saw my own kid in this kid. He was probably the same age -- seventeenish or so. I knew if my son had his own cute little car (which he desperately wants) he’d treat it like his baby. And if some impatient lady in a van was beeping behind him, my son would be annoyed with me, too.  

“You know,” I said. “I have a teen just like you who would really like that sweet car you have.”

He brightened and we fell in step, side by side.

“Ya, I really like it.”

“I'm sorry I was impatient.” I said.  “I’m crabby today.”

“Really?” he laughed.  “I'm crabby, too.” (Okay -- what 17-year-old admits he’s crabby to some random lady??)

We both agreed we would try to have a better day.

“Merry Christmas,” he said.  

“You, too,” I replied and we did this lean-in half hug thing. Me and some random teenage kid.

The Heart of the Matter: Every day, we can escalate crabbiness or kindness. Crabbiness sometimes feels easier. But kindness always ends better.