After the race, a short rest, and a shower, my spouse and I headed off for our local farmer's market to shop and to visit. One of the "visits" I most enjoyed was running into one of my favorite stability ball/strength training teachers, along with her children. I, of course, immediately told her of my glorious and successful a.m. and after a great high five, I stooped down to visit with the children. Rebecca's son, in a stroller, had a mouth covered in blue and yellow stains from the snow ice he was consuming and daughter, Tallulah, who I believe might be about 8 or 9, was also involved with a snow ice - albeit not as noticeably having smeared it all over her face as her brother had done. After an intro and how are yous, Talullah turned her face up to me and said, "I really like your lipstick color:)" I returned her compliment with a polite and enthusiastic thank you and then her mother went on to explain that she and Talullah were both into women of fashion and that my red lips had obviously piqued Talullah's appreciation:).............lest you think that I agree with the push on fashion being necessarily or not important to a young girl, I need to explain what thoughts crossed my mind at that moment.
Rebecca had introduced me to her children as a friend and "a physically strong, determined woman" who sometimes participated in her classes (she's a sub for my regular great teacher at the YMCA, Christy Druffel). I, in turn, was praising the child's mother for her energy, strong body, bright mind and totally active and competent mothering skills. I felt that in praising each other over one another's accomplishments of both physical and mental activities, there was a quick example there for her kiddos of how friends support each other in their various activities, of how praise can be given, shared, received. Also, the example of a woman, obviously much older than her mother, (although I'm not quite sure if children lump ALL adults into the older category?) who was in relationship with her and with her mother on levels of work, play, and fashion. I believe that how we act and react with other people in public and in private is so important for the socialization of children and for their attitudes toward adults other than their parents.
A gifted theologian and scholar by the name of Ellen Charry once spoke to a church audience I was in (St. Paul's Riverside, CT) about the fact that church is possibly the only other place (aside from a school classroom) where children are, in effect, in relationship with adults other than their parents. I think it's easy to overlook that kids know their parents along with possibly a small circle of their adult friends, and other than that, that children in general seldom inter-relate with adults. I believe, along with Ms. Charry, that a child's mental capacity for love, for maturity, for exchange with others is influenced by the positive (and negative) experiences they encounter growing up - even small exchanges in our outdoor farmer's market.
So that's it, just an observation about what we, by example, teach our children and grandchildren through our own behavior with them and through our behavior with and about other adult friends and strangers. Whether a parent or not, have you ever thought about how your personal behavior could possibly affect the life of a child that you know and love and even, perhaps, affect a child who may only observe you in a public place? I think it's something to think about and consider whether you're a parent or not.