This week I went to the zoo with my 3rd grader and her entire class. It was fun although I really think the adults had more fun than the kids. I watched as the kids flocked to the fake animals, which was hilarious to me. You might be surprised at how many fake animals are in the zoo, which leads to many, many photo opportunities.
So, I was walking around with about 35 third graders (two classes total) who as you might imagine, didn’t pay much attention to where they were walking or how long they stared at the real animals. I heard several adults (not in our party) complain and huff as they passed our group. We were in the way you see! One couple, who had a tiny baby, got so huffy that the dad pushed his stroller off angrily to get away from us. This amused me for two reasons: 1) Before I had kids, I did the same thing and 2) It left me trying to figure out why. Why do we get soooo bothered?
Living in East Tennessee affords me the joy of saying howdy and hi to people and getting a return howdy or hi most of the time. But, some times, I don’t get one and it makes me a little sad. The huffing, frustrated parents at the zoo made me think that we all need to just slow down a bit, even for just 10 seconds, and think to ourselves, we all need to be nice (or at least kind) to each other. The third graders hadn’t created a blockade that couldn’t be surpassed. They had just added perhaps a minute wait to the strangers’ lives. Unfortunately, that was too much. We are truly living in the time of immediate gratification.
So, I challenge all of us to be nicer to one another. If someone waves at you, wave back. It might just make their day, and yours. We all have bad days and it’s important to remember that. But, we’re in this together and we have to remember that too.