Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Gift of Respect

The kid came back inside after only a few minutes of play with a neighborhood friend yesterday.

When I questioned her sudden return, she told me her friend left with a 13-year-old boy who was visiting another neighbor, on a a four-wheeler, in the woods across from our house, through the Santee River Swamp.

I raised an eyebrow, to which she remarked, "I know, Mama."

I said nothing more, swallowing the lecture erupting from within.

Three hours passed, and the kid and I were about to embark on a search and rescue mission when her friend returned.

I completely forgot the planned lecture today when I saw the kid helping her dance instructor with "the little kids".

In my little girl I saw patience and understanding as she tied the laces of tap shoes, demonstrated shuffles, and gently persuaded the wandering minds of three and four-year-olds to direct their attention to their instructor.

In my little girl I saw maturity that deserved acknowledgement, and so, as we drove home, I told her I was proud of her; that I knew she wanted to go on that four-wheeler journey, and how hard it must have been to decline the invitation.

And when she said, "I didn't because of you", she gave me the very best gift any parent ever receives...the gift of respect.


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