The Power of Small People: A Lesson in Respect

This post is part of a series of "vintage" posts I'm reposting from my now-defunct Facipiers and Stinky Toes, my original blog started in 2006.

So today's post is on respect. I always try to teach my kids to respect their elders. Whether they are separated by 50 years or 5, older folks deserve good eye contact, a listening ear, and even an occasional "yes, ma'am."

Today, however, I would like to give a shout out to those who need a lesson in respecting children. Yep, they are little, their dictation is off, and they rarely can pour a liquid without great devastation, but they are people too! A 2-year-old can sense disapproval, sarcasm, deceit, or annoyance without any understanding of the words you are saying. And today, we experienced all of these.

Taking my 2 young boys and the new baby into a public restroom today, we encountered a store keeper who did business in the shopping center. She had a 2-wheeled dolly piled high with boxes, and as she came through the doors of the plaza, she glanced in our direction.

"Um, Miss... " she called over, "You aren't taking those into the restroom, are you?" 

Confused by what she was referring to, I half expected to see a parade of pigeons behind me or perhaps a pack of cheetahs following us into the bathroom. "Oh, you mean my kids?" I replied. "Yep, they are going to use the potty, " I felt compelled to explain.

Her disapproval was apparent as she dictated, "Don't put their diapers in the trash. They stink, and I will get sick from the smell. Put them anywhere but in the trash....or better yet, take them with you."

The thought of a soiled diaper smashed in the bottom of my purse with my chapstick and checkbook was not an appealing one, but I nodded hastily, as I didn't want my 3-year-old to miss his opportunity to potty.

She left, and as we did our "business" in the bathroom, I thought of all the people we encounter every day who see my children as a blessing: Those folks who "oooh" and "awe", those that ask questions about their age and comment on their manners, those that smile and wave, and those whose days are brightened by their mere existence on this earth. And then there was that lady. Someone with no respect for the smallest of human lives and who apparently never wore a diaper.

And so, being one who hates confrontation, but feeling the need to make a statement, I wrapped up my newborn's little soiled diaper, left the restroom, and turned the corner to just outside the shop of the woman I had just met. In a casual, but very satisfactory manner, I pushed open the trash door and dropped the package inside.

Sometime later today, when the temperature inside the plaza reaches 85 degrees, she will be reminded of just how powerful little people and their mothers can be. It's too bad we won't be there to share!

Have you ever experienced a lack of respect for your tiny ones?


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