I heard a lovely story on the Today show this morning about James Hundly, a 63 year old African American postal carrier. James has made his mark with all the people on his route with his gift for gab and for his generosity of spirit. He is a positive, friendly, all around good guy that people look forward to seeing every day during his postal deliveries. So why is this so unusual? It seems that James grew up in the 1960's in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. As a young man he joined the civil rights marches, believing in the rights of equality. Though the marchers were non-violent, they were met all along the way with hate filled voices. They were spit on, had rocks thrown at them, and were fired on by guns as the passed from town to town. But the marchers never retaliated. Now I don't know about you, but being treated like that could change a person, make them bitter and angry, and see themselves as being victims and helpless. But not James, he did not want to turn into a hater, and listened to the words of his parents. Love is the strongest force in the world in the face of hate. And when you treat people with dignity, respect and love, then that's what you will get back. And for the last 40 years he has practiced just that. And he has a fan club to prove it.
I am sure as a parent you have had moments when your teen has treated you with a lack of respect. Perhaps they have screamed at you with venomous anger, or sarcasm, or even worse, given you the silent treatment. Most of us, feeling disrespected, and hurt lash out in return. Perhaps it's a lecture "you can not treat me this way", or maybe a punishment, "well if you are going to treat me this way, see how you'll like it when I take away your phone, your computer, your life!" Read yesterday's blog and see how far that dad got with that!
Listening to this story about James, I wonder what would happen if the next time your teen treats you disrespectfully, you show love, rather than hate. " I love you honey, no matter what you say, I hope we can work this out." and than walk away. When James and his fellow marchers were called names, and spit on, they too could have retaliated with anger, and fists, but did not. They looked their abusers in the face with respect. Pretty amazing! It made the other guy look pretty foolish. Food for thought!