By now you should all know my unhealthily love for McDonalds. Only because I document it far too often on Instagram....but all it took was one trip that taught me a lesson that I will forever be grateful for. Seriously, who goes to a fast food restaurant and thinks that they will leave with anything more than high cholesterol or extra pounds? 😂 I know I didn't, but sometimes things happen in the most unusual ways.
My daughter orders the same thing every time we go to McDonalds. A plain cheeseburger (only pickles) Happy Meal with extra fries and a small strawberry smoothie. It is always a guessing game between us on how many pickles she will get on her sandwich because it always varies. My husband was with us for our weekly Mickey D's run and he was quickly corrected when he tried to change up her order! Haha he lives in a house with very verbal women....poor guy.
So, Rowan gets her Happy Meal, opens up her cheeseburger, and quickly looks to see how many pickles she got. She shouts out "ONE!" I said "What? You were cheated!" She replied and asked me what that meant, the word cheated. And there I was stuck trying to explain the meaning of the word cheated to my 4 year old. Rude awakening. My husband tried to chime in a help pick me up while I stumbled over finding words she would understand. Unfair, deprived, and then I finally resorted to telling her that she should have gotten more than what she got. Her innocence quickly fired back with a "Why Mom? They didn't cheated me, I got one pickle. And it's a really big one too."
I know I know you all are thinking what the heck does this have to do with anything or who cares, but it was a stop me in my tracks moment and instantly made me change my thinking. Why? Because in that moment I was reminded that my actions and words are shaping this young girl into what she will become. Do I really want her going through life thinking she was cheated because someone didn't give her more pickles on her cheeseburger? I hope you understand my point and where my heart is on this issue. It's not about the pickles at all, it's about everything in life. Why do we feel like we are so mistreated when we don't get exactly what we want when we want it? Why aren't we just thankful that we got one pickle? I scrambled to reply to my daughter that she was so right and how silly that was of me to say! I told her she was so lucky because she got a pickle! Yes, I know we ordered it and so naturally it should be there but when it's not, how do you want your child to react? I want my daughter to eat her cheeseburger no matter what and not think anything of it, like oh well at least I have food. It is not life altering in any way. Or go home and put on your own pickle.
Maybe you are thinking to yourself that this is so dumb and why would you teach your child not to stand up for what she wants or orders? Because life is hard & unfair already, I don't want her to constantly find the bad in everything she does. She will be let down so many times I won't be able to save her every time, but I can teach her how to think differently about things and situations, just like she taught me in that McDonalds drive thru.
I remember before I was a mother, there was this great debate about all participating children receiving trophies instead of just the winners. I am not here to debate what is right and wrong, but I grew up not getting anything if we didn't win, but that just pushed me to practice more, try harder and to be a better teammate so we could win something. Too many times these days we expect handouts from life and when they don't come, we fall into a mood where we feel like a failure. Trust me, I have felt like this a lot and especially now as a mother and a wife. It doesn't have to be something great and grand to teach your children important lessons in life, or I guess it applies to adults to in this case. I am constantly learning from her. The spirit of a child is so innocent and pure. The joy they have where they just can't walk into the store, they have to skip, jump or twirl the entire way there. The way they love is so raw. They really love with everything they have because they know no different. So the next time you are walking into Target and your child is holding your hand, yanking it in every direction because they are skipping, look down and smile and maybe start to skip with them. Or the next time the waiter forgets something, teach them to look for the positive or ask politely. Find good in every situation and use the failures to teach valuable lessons. I now smile and wait for her to tell me how many pickles she got on her sandwich, because I know she is going to be thrilled either way. Today she got one again....and one big one.
Start to treat people with the type of love you want people to treat you or your child with. Trust me, love can and will change the world. XO
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Love your neighbors as yourself. There is no other commandment greater that these." Matthew 22 37-39