Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Witness to a Wipeout

We use the phrase don't be that guy around our home an awful lot these days and for good reason. When we hear stories on the news about bad choices made or terrible actions taken we say Don't be that guy. Every now and then one of the kids will tell a tale on another kid who acted inappropriately and hopefully, before we get to the point of judging the person, someone will cut the conversation short by saying..."Just don't be that guy!"  When we see less-than-honorable behavior as we are living our lives outside of our home, the return trip in the car involves the don't be that guy warning.

Highlighting choices poorly made teaches powerful lessons to my children and to me as well. Watching a teenager in a grocery store treat her mother with disrespect teaches my teen how terrible the action is much more vividly than me telling her that she should be respectful. Nearly being sideswiped on the interstate by a young man driving too fast and texting and then hitting the guardrail in a dangerous stretch of road screams to my soon-to-be driving son, don't text and drive! far more effectively than the well-intentioned TV commercials.

Calling attention to the What Not To Dos is a good plan but I also know that following good examples of folks who are living life skillfully is a vital practice too.  I often forget to note the honorable, the good, and the worthy that happens all around me because ...well, because I've become a lazy noticer of good and noble and worthy, choosing to focus instead on that guy I don't want anyone to be.

I am the mother of a noticer however, an active noticer and I was reminded of that today.

This morning as the kids and I were leaving our homeschool co-op we began to notice that the parking lot was a bit icy. It had rained while we were all in class and when the rain hit the freezing ground ice happened. The older kids were walking ahead of Molly and I and I'd been squalling warnings sweetly cautioning them lest they fall on the ice. The five of us were alone in the parking lot except for a friend who was taking a load of supplies to her car and then was heading back inside to feed her kids lunch and then, I think, to teach her third class of the day.

I grabbed Molly's hand to keep her upright and then I went down kersplat. I landed on parts of my body that the Dear Lord saw fit to equip me with...abundantly. From my wet seat on the ground I told Molly, who was looking down at me screaming, that I was fine. My friend had seen it all and was coming my direction to check on me but I was already to my poorly shod feet (I'd forgotten to change my shoes before leaving home earlier in the morning and was wearing little more than slippers!) and I told her I was not hurt. She asked once more and I assured her I'd landed ... skillfully.

Once we'd achieved safe entry to the van Meg said, "Mom at least if you were gonna fall, Mrs. _______ was the perfect one to be the only one to see you. She's just so kind."

We carefully headed home and then I went to lunch at a friend's and the kids and my Man went for haircuts and lunch on their own and eventually the kids and I were all home again together and they finished school and...and... and... the day rolled on and I forgot all about my short-lived career this morning as a figure skater.

My friend from the parking lot had not forgotten. Just after dinner I got a text from her making sure I was ok. I wasn't surprised. Neither was my noticer. "See Mom, I told you she was the perfect one to witness your wipe out."

Yes, I thought to myself, to be thoughtful and kind and attentive and to be SO much those things that it's what a teenaged girl expects of me...
I want to be that guy!

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