by Sandy Kirby Quandt
The other day as I drove to my son, Pie’s, apartment located across from one of the local high schools, a teenage boy sped across the divided four lane highway on his skateboard. Ninny. You could get yourself killed. I thought.
As I parked the car and walked across the parking lot to Pie’s apartment, who should scoot past? The Ninny. I mean, the teenager.
The way I saw it, I had three choices.
- Be polite, smile and say hello
- Let the parent/teacher in me out and lecture him on the danger of riding his skateboard across a busy street
- Or ignore him altogether
Can you guess what I did?
I smiled, said hello and you know what? He raised his silver-studded lip into a smile, waved and said hello back.
Are there ever times when we see someone and become standoffish just because of their age, looks, or demeanor without any real basis for that reaction?
I’m not talking about tuning away from someone when the spidey-sense God gives us goes off when we’re walking through a dark parking lot alone, or when we find ourselves someplace we probably shouldn’t be.
I’m talking about refusing to acknowledge someone just because we’ve allowed a negative stereotype to take hold.
From the way the skateboarder smiled after I spoke to him, I believe he was surprised I acknowledged him at all. He may have been accustomed to adults turning away and ignoring him, for all I know.
Back to my three choices … I could have lectured him for the careless way he rode through traffic. I could have ignored him completely as if he didn’t even exist. But by being nice and not lecturing, not ignoring, maybe God used my few simple words to speak to the teen in some small way.
You never know.
Have you ever let discomfort keep you from being nice when it wouldn’t have hurt to do so?
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It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. Ephesians 2:10 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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