The other day I was in line to check out at the grocery store. I had bravely (or stupidly) made the trip with all four boys. As most parents know, the candy section and soda refrigerator that are (not so) conveniently located alongside the checkout line can be a huge enticement for even the best behaved kids (not that mine fall into that category). As things were slowly degenerating into chaos, I put the groceries on the conveyor belt and looked over to find my two oldest sons peering into the refrigerator. My oldest grabbed a bottle and, before I could stop him, he gave it a vigorous shake or two (or three or four).
“What?” he impishly inquired. “It’ll be cool when it explodes on someone.”
Rather than pop a gasket I took a deep breath and made this a quick lesson in empathy.
Suppose someone on their way to work gets thirsty and stops by the grocery store to buy something to drink. And when they open their soda, it explodes all over them. They couldn’t possibly go to work in their sopping wet clothes. They’d have to go back home to change and end up late for work. You have to think about what might happen to the other person and how that would make them feel before you do something so inconsiderate. That’s called empathy.
You never know when an opportunity to teach a life lesson will present itself. I’m not sure how I was able to get it under control enough and act rationally. I guess it’s a rare moment to gloat.