Teachable moments

Those who have children or have worked with children have probably had something called “teachable moments.” Usually such a moment involves an opportunity to help the child learn an important lesson—maybe after they have not made a good decision with their actions or behavior. I recently had one of those moments—but this time I was on the receiving end, and my young son was the teacher. 

At the time, my son, Jeremy, was eight years old. I had purchased an apparently faulty black ink cartridge from a local office supply store, which had spilled over my desk and onto the carpet as soon as I opened it. Needless to say, I was not happy and planned to take it back to the store to ask for a refund. But as I drove there with Jeremy and his sister, Sidney, the bag with the faulty cartridge spilled and left a black ink spot on the carpet floor of the car, too!

When we got to the store, I was not in the best frame of mind and went in feeling self-justified and self-righteous. I asked for the manager and explained what had happened along with my request, almost a demand, on how to rectify the situation. Responding to my not-so-gracious attitude, he said I could replace the cartridge but didn’t seem very apologetic or too concerned about it. His rather nonchalant attitude made me feel even more upset and irritated, and even resentful toward this man. Obviously not the example I wanted my children to see! I proceeded to the aisle where the ink cartridges were stocked to get another one as Jeremy followed quietly, having just witnessed my interaction with the manager.

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