Rudeness and our children

Published 9:57 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

The bright red finish and the cardboard license plates were clear indicators the car in the fast-food restaurant parking lot was brand new. The owner likely panicked when he saw me park beside it. Quickly, he ran out and moved the car and parked it again at an odd angle that blocked two parking places.

The manager walked up to the man and asked him to park his car correctly. The man arrogantly replied it was brand new and did not want some jerk hitting it. He loudly complained about the lousy food. The manager smiled throughout and offered to refund the man’s money. The man quickly accepted and left in a huff.

I wouldn’t have paid much attention except the rude guy was accompanied by three teenagers who were watching everything, giggling. When told to leave, they began cramming food in their mouths. Meanwhile, they laughed about how their father tough-talked the poor restaurant manager and still received a free meal. 

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After the altercation, I asked the manager if he was OK. He nodded and said: “I don’t get upset when people are rude. It’s part of my job to deal with all kinds of customers. As a grandfather, however, I cringe to think what kind of lesson the children received from their father’s intimidation tactics. Those kids will likely learn to behave just like their father.”
“Teach your children to choose the right path and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

So, one reaction would be to laugh at the rude guy and chalk it up to entertainment at someone else’s expense. But, God offers another way to treat people. “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”

Years after this happened, I still vividly recall those three kids sitting at a table watching. I pray someday they remember the example of the manager rather than their father but, that is unlikely. Teach your children to choose the right path and when they are older, they will remain upon it. – Proverbs 22:6.

We all have choices in our interactions with people. We may choose rudeness and intimidation or we choose patience and kindness.

So, choose wisely, the path that you take and may God walk that path with you.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at