Excuse Me Mr. Cashier :: A Teachable Moment With My Children

Good Morning Mr. Cashier, I see you and you see me walk up with my three children and smile. You do not realize what’s to come so I try to send you an apologetic smile. You see, we didn’t realize you were about to have a shift change and you were ready to leave. I get it, I really do but also I am in the middle of a very important life lesson with my children. You see, my children have worked hard to earn those crumpled dollars you see in their three sets of little hands. My oldest is nervous already and trying to count her dollars and change. And yes, we will have three transactions and sorry, I really thought we had everyone’s wallets organized. But hey, they are kids so you understand, right?

Be Patient, Be Kind

My children are 6, 8 and 10 and are ready to be responsible with their earned allowance. They all carefully picked out each of their toys and made sure they had enough money. They put away the items that were too expensive and figured out how to make the most of their money. They were proud of themselves. I see another employee come behind you, also impatiently waiting to make the shift change. My daughter notices too, but what she also notices is the look on both your faces. You are trying to hide it but your body language says everything, and when you ask if we have a penny and my daughter had to dig for it, we both saw you throw your hands up in annoyance. So at that point, my daughter gave up and said I can’t do it. She was embarrassed, I was embarrassed and you turned a positive experience into something else.  Again, I get it. You are ready to move on and maybe you have somewhere to be, but also if we don’t take a minute to teach our kids these simple life lessons, then these kids turn into adults fumbling around with their money while you wait.

Empowering Our Children is Important

This experience was not the one I was expecting. but maybe my kids learned more by your impatience. We finished up our third and final transaction with your co-worker, who smiled, and we thanked her for her patience. My children walked out proud of themselves but they also commented on your impatience and that they were only trying to learn. I tried to explain to them that maybe you had a good reason or maybe you were just impatient, but the point is to always be kind.

We all made sure to thank him and I apologized for our slowness. I talked to my children in the car afterwards about how our actions and body language affect other people around us. We need to teach our children and we need your help! The words “it takes a village” is the truth! We need our community to stop ignoring our kids and looking at them as something slowing them down and look at them as future adults. As adults, we need to stop and remember how we felt as kids. The stuff that looks little to us is the stuff that looks BIG to them. These little acts EMPOWER our children and are important.

Mr. Cashier, I won’t forget you and neither will my kids. The way you made me nervous by your impatient sighs, the way you made my daughter’s eyes tear up when you threw your hand up, and the way I felt when I had to rush my kids and not let them feel empowered by purchasing their own toys with their money. Hopefully, next time we go to the store to cash in their chore money, we will have a better experience but for now, we will reflect on this one.


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