Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mother and Son Good Works Challenge

There are so many stories I could have written over the past six months, but have been a little out of sorts. Last week, my newly-married son, Brody, and I had a really nice conversation over the phone about "transformational experiences." I had told him about a somewhat negative response I received from a twenty-something woman when I tried to inform her that we had almost crashed due to her malfunctioning car headlight. My intention had been to "help her," but she took offense and snapped something out of her window across a couple of lanes of traffic. The rest of the way back to my daughter's home, a half-hour drive in pitch dark, I considered this young woman's defensive response and how I might have made a difference for good, instead of turning the situation negative for both of us.

Brody and I talked about the ideal response to the headlamp situation, based on the teachings from his favorite coach Tony Robbins and on my goal of spreading goodness in the world--especially when things are not easy in my own life. So, here is our exchange, a mother-and-son challenge for each of us to handle an otherwise aggravating circumstance, and make it transformational for the person or people with whom we feel annoyed in the moment. We planned to have such an experience within the week, watching for a situation in which we would go the extra mile to create change.

First, Brody's story of transformation...He's a hip twenty-something, and I'm an English teacher--so I couldn't refrain from adding caps and punctuation. :-)

Congrats momma on a very good experience!!  I also had an experience at Home Depot. We were walking to get into the checkout line and noticed a couple of people that were in line got out of line and went to the self check out. When we got into the isle for checkout there were 3 young children counting change on the counter trying to buy candy. They were each going to make their own purchase with their own money which was admirable but the old familiar feelings wer boiling inside and I began to notice my mind wondering why they were doing this at home depot? why right now? This isn't a grocery store or candy store so why are they taking so long. And they need to be more considerate of people who were shopping at home depot for the right reason. But after noticing those thoughts and remembering our conversation I had two choices, do what the other people had done before me and angrily walk out of the line to the self checkout area or take the more difficult road so I decided to act quickly before I thought about it too much and so I told the cashier to put all of the candy the children were buying on our purchase and I would pay for their candy. It was gratifying to see the look on the kids' faces and I made sure to tell them that the next time they purchase candy they all needed to share the money they were spending because I had gotten there a little late and one of them had already purchased her candy. They were very sweet kinds and thanked Laura and me about ten times before running out the door and returning to their home which I hope wasn't too far away so they didn't cross any major roads. 

And next, Momma/Bina's...

I don't love going to movies alone, but realize I'll miss the good ones if I don't venture out. So, Friday night (date night, for some) I went to the late showing, of "The Hundred-Foot Journey." It was playing at a big complex with smallish inner theaters, and I was very happy to arrive early and spread out across a few seats with my purse and smuggled-in popcorn. The theater seemed like it was filling up, but there was still lots of room below the railing and walkway--closer to the screen.

Just as the trailers finished, a middle-aged couple stood near "my" row and the woman asked, "Would you mind moving down so we can take those 2 seats?" I looked down at all the empty seats below the railing, and looked at her date. He seemed a bit embarrassed that she was asking someone to move--after the lights had already dimmed. He just looked across the theater, and in the direction of the empty seats. She had a very insistent look on her face, and said, "I'll go blind if I sit down there."

I really, really wanted to say "No." But, I thought about our conversation, and knew I had to oblige--and find a way to go the extra mile here. So, instead of grumpily shuffling over, I looked up, smiled, and said, "Sure, no problem!" We all became very cozy in that row, with the guy right next to me wondering what had happened all of a sudden. :)

The next move could have been the real transformation, but I got shy and didn't do it. I thought, to meet the challenge I had with my son, I should offer them some of my smuggled popcorn. I thought about it a few times--so it was the right thing to do. But, no, I chickened out on that part. Instead, I opted for chatting with them at the end of the movie. It was a lot more coziness than I was comfortable with, but surprisingly I did regret not making the food offering. I'll have to try another challenge this week to get to that point, for sure.

Finally, Brody's wife Laura added this inspiring Facebook snippet today. 

I'm grateful to a son who created change within my own heart by talking about these ideas with me, and for being the mature, deep-thinking young man that he is. The challenge of looking for an opportunity set a positive, sweet tone for me during an otherwise difficult week. Thank you, Brody!

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