I stood in the checkout line at Walmart while the clerk finished scanning all of my items. All of the sudden I had a tremendous sinking feeling down in my stomach. For once, it wasn’t caused by watching the grocery bill get larger and larger.
The feeling was caused by watching the people behind me in the line. I watched as an old woman rolled up to the line in an electronic riding carts. With her, there were two young women who appeared to be in their twenties, or possibly younger. There were one or two kids with them.
Just as they walked up to the counter, a worker brought up a stack of phone cards and some other electronic thing – I didn’t get a good look at that. They placed some clothing and two or three pairs of shoes for the kids on the counter. I didn’t know for sure what was about to happen, but my intuition told me that it wasn’t going to be good. I was afraid an old woman was about to pay for some pretty expensive items for these young people. The sinking feeling was in my stomach because I wasn’t sure the woman even knew what she was about to pay for.
To be fair, I told myself that maybe the young women were going to pay for all of those phone cards and the kids’ shoes and clothes. I told myself that maybe the old woman offered to pay for all of those items, because, after all, I did overhear one of the young women offer to take the older woman by to visit someone. Maybe this was her way of saying “thanks for bring me to the grocery store.”
In these short moments, my mind raced about what I should do. I thought maybe I should just come out and ask, “Wow! Are you buying all of these expensive things for them? How nice!” I thought about being snarky and asking the checkout clerk in an intentional loud voice, “Just wondering. Do you ever have lazy young people come in and buy a lot of items at the expense of some elderly person?” I even thought about just coming out and asking, “If you are about to let her pay for those, please just let me pay for those things. Then at least you would be taking advantage of me, a woman married to a hard working husband, and not an old woman who can’t afford it.”
I didn’t say anything, though. After all, I really didn’t know for sure what was going on. In other words, I was trying not to judge this situation, but my intuition just made me feel as if something was not right about it.
Still, even if I had judged this particular situation completely wrong, I have been in enough checkout lines to know that what I feared was going on does happen often. With that in my mind, I left the store nearly in tears. I was sad because it is a terrible thing to take advantage of someone. I was also frustrated because I felt like I should do something, or at least try to.
The sadness and frustration slowly went away. As it did, a feeling of determination took its place.
I was determined to teach my children better. With the help of God and because of my extreme influence in the lives of an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, I would teach my kids to be better. To do that, I resolved more than ever to teach three things:
- I will teach them to honor the elderly. I will not allow disrespectful talk about elderly people in our home. I will make sure they get a steady dose of visiting elderly people in their homes, in our home, and at church. I will make sure they spend their own money to buy something for an elderly person on a regular basis.
- I will teach them how to work hard; I will not allow laziness. They will be responsible for regular chores. I will not allow video games, television, and play to dominate their time.
- I will teach them that they weren’t put on this earth to be served, but to serve. Using the example of our Lord (cf. Mark 10:45), I will constantly put them in situations and places where they serve other people.
I know I am not the only young mother who is deceived by society and the Devil himself about her value. It is so easy to want to give up or focus on something different from your family. Our society tells young women that if they want to be valuable to world, they need to do something in addition to raising a family. Too many women leave the rearing of children to someone else, because they feel like they need to do something more “important” with their lives.
This really isn’t an article on women working outside the home. This is an article written by a young woman who sometimes wonders if she is doing enough for the church, for her country, for society, for God. Today, I felt the weight of my responsibility as a mother on my shoulders. I felt like I can make a difference. That difference begins in the lives of that 9-year-old girl and that 8-year-old boy.
AUTHOR: Leah Faughn
Photo background credit: frankieleon on Creative Commons