Role models for children

My kids and I attended a preview last week of the new Disney movie High School Musical. My mom had gotten free passes and we were all excited to see the movie. It was a rush to get to the movie theatre and we ate our sandwiches while the local radio and television stations passed out their free gifts. There were t-shirts, hats, mega-phones, banners and pom poms. Unfortunately, my kids didn’t catch any of the prizes but were just as happy watching the movie.

After the movie we were following a family out of the theatre, their hands were laden with prizes, somehow this family had scored two t-shirts, two mega-phones and two pom poms. As we passed the theatre entrance doors, the mother ripped two more banners off the glass doors to add to her collection. No one in her party said anything – I believe there were some grandparents with them as well, but all I could think of was what an aweful role model she was for her two kids. I have no idea how she scored the huge loot of prizes in the first place but now she was taking other items that clearly weren’t hers for the taking without asking. As if that wasn’t bad enough, about 100 feet outside of the theatre her son dropped a plastic spoon he was carrying and proceeded to walk past it leaving it for someone else to pick up and throw away. I was so irritated with this family by now that I picked up the spoon and called to the son and told him he dropped something that needed to be thrown away. I left it at that although I had a huge urge to really tell this mom what I really thought.

When we got to the car, my daughter wondered how that mom had gotten so many prizes, she said she was disappointed that they hadn’t won anything. I asked if they wanted me to stop at the theatre on the way out of the parking lot and see if we could have two banners too. (I planned to ask the manager of the theatre though before I took anything.) They were both so excited. I explained to the manager what I had just seen the other mom do and asked if I might be able to take the last two banners.  She wasn’t completely sure, but then she agreed. I was totally the hero that night and my kids were thrilled. I hope they also learned a lesson about the right way to get something. I have no idea if that is really a mitzvah but let’s say it’s 786 if it is.

787) My kids and I were taking the dog for a walk in a neighborhood we didn’t know. We saw a couple of kids in their side yard playing ball and they were talking to us and wanted to pet the dog. The oldest brother kicked his little sisters ball and it flew out of their yard and into a huge thicket of brambles behind their house on a hill. I told them I would try to see if I could find it. I spotted it and my son really wanted to help get it. The prickers were awful but we did manage to get their ball and give it back. It was only after we returned the ball I realized I had been wearing a new sweatshirt I had gotten as a birthday present and it had gotten some snags from the prickers. I guess sometimes mitzvahs do have other consequences.

788) Volunteered in my son’s classroom today.

789) An environmental mitzvah: I had coffee with a friend today at Starbucks.  I am at a Starbucks at least three times a week since I meet many clients there for my business. As always, today when I asked for my drink I asked for it in a “here” glass ie. not plastic. Starbucks policy is to always put your drinks in a to go cup whether you are staying or not. This really urks me. After a few words with the cashier my friend sheepishly asked for her drink in a real cup as well. She said she often doesn’t do it because she usually takes her drinks to go but at least for today we saved two plastic cups from the land fill.

I received two hand written notes in the mail today. The first was from a potential client who had tried some samples I had given her and sent me a note telling me that she had enjoyed all of the products but at this time she wasn’t interested in becoming a client. It was so unusual to receive this kind of a note that I saved it.

Also, I had made a donation recently to a charity in memory of a young girl who had passed away. I didn’t know the little girl but her aunt is a member of my community and a friend. I know this has been a very difficult time for her.  The note was from the grandma and let me know that together we had raised over $8,000 dollars in memory of their granddaughter. It was very profound to receive that hand written thank you note and really touched me.  There is nothing like a handwritten note. It has more power than any thing else I can think of right now.