I guess some people  would say this kid in the picture above is being rude or misbehaving. I don't necessarily think so. For all we know, his sister just kicked him in the shins or something. We just don't know do we ? I will tell you a story however about a kid who definitely falls into the " rude " category. It happened to me the other day.

I was walking out of 7-11 and a kid who looked to be about eleven or twelve years old was standing right outside the door as I was exiting the store. Just as I was about to walk by him, he spit out his gum on the sidewalk....one of those projectile type spits where someone tilts their head back and hocks something way up in the air before it falls to the ground. It was a huge wad of bubble gum and it landed on the sidewalk just as I was about to put my foot down in the very same spot. Thankfully I stopped my foot in mid air and stepped backwards thus avoiding landing right on his chewed up wad of gum that was now right in the main pathway of everyone going in and out of 7-11.

I stopped and just looked at him. He was standing there and was trying to say something to his mother who was sitting in a car right in front of us as she was parked right in front of the doors. I waited for her to say something like " Why in the world did you just do that?" to her precious lad but she did nothing of the sort. She just sat there as if him hocking his gum on the ground smack dab in the entrance way two feet in front of the doors was the most natural thing in the world.

I looked past this boy and saw an outdoor trash can sitting no further than six feet away from him. I pondered the situation for about two seconds.....I thought of ignoring what just happened and just going to my car and driving  away. That would have probably been the safest and most wise action to take. I just couldn't do it though. Nope...I had to say something. I looked one last time at the mother to make sure she was not going to correct her son. It definitely looked like she wasn't so I took a deep breath and very calmly said to the kid ..." Really?"  He responded by grunting " What?"  I said " I am not meaning to sound too critical here but there is a trash can right there that you could have spit this huge mouthful of gum into and yet you chose to launch it right here on the sidewalk so someone can step right into it ?" He looked at me and said nothing. He then looked at his mom who was sitting in the car and she said nothing. There was about five seconds of silence and I just very politely said " Do you think that maybe you could do the right thing and pick it up and just put it in that trash can so people can walk in and out of here without tromping on it ?" He shrugged and then slowly bent down , picked it up and did indeed throw it away. Thankfully.

I couldn't help but wonder when I drove away what that mom was thinking when that happened. She definitely saw him hock his gum on the ground. Her window was down and she could definitely hear our conversation. However she passively sat there. She really should have been the one to ask him to pick up his gum yet she sat quietly forcing me to do so. I didn't relish having to be the one to correct him but was willing to.

Parents, when your kids blow it, please just step up and make them fix it. Too many times I think we might be embarrassed at what ever stupid or goofy thing that our kid just did that we sit in silence. Just don't let that happen. Try to be the first one to help your child get in line and step up to the plate before someone else reluctantly has to. It isn't hard to do so.

This wasn't a big deal but just something that stuck in my mind the rest of that day. I think it was because the kid was so brazen and yet the parent was so timid. I am not at all trying to portray myself as a mom of perfect kids who did nothing wrong because anyone who knows our family knows that ain't so ! In fact my kids may have been the kid to not pick their gum back up at all...ha ha.

Yes, this was definitely one of those moments that tries our patience. I am glad that it worked out well and didn't get too awkward or ugly because the boy did the right thing. All people can be rude and just plain blow it. Kids can blow it more than adults for sure and that is why they have parents ...to step in when needed.

Next time it is your kid who does the unthinkable - just step up and help him make it right. He will learn a lesson if you do.
And some strange lady won't have to stop and do your job.

Especially when she really doesn't want to.

LIfe is full of surprises and crazy moments that try our patience. I am just happy this one ended well :)