I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
Some conversations are best left unrecounted word for word.
It’s not that they aren’t true. It’s that there is too much truth. It hurts.
This was one of those conversations.
First, let me say, I am thankful for a straight-shooting daughter. She tells me exactly what she thinks and feels. Sometimes it’s ugly; sometimes it’s nice. It’s always honest.
When she started telling me how I was screwing up as a parent, it hurt. A lot. But she was correct in everything she was saying, and she added, “I’m not saying you and Dad are terrible parents, but I really think you can do better at this.”
I’m thankful for words like that, too.
Then she added, “It’s not like any of your kids are sidewalk people, or anything.”
“What are sidewalk people?” I asked.
I started picturing all the students one would see on any college campus.
“They walk in a pack,” she went, “and span the whole width of the sidewalk. They’re pretty wide sidewalks, you know.”
Yes, I knew. I had been on college campuses before.
“They walk three or four or five abreast, which is fine, if you’re the only one on the sidewalk. But there are tons of students going to class and they don’t move for anybody. They don’t even acknowledge that there is anyone else trying to walk on the sidewalk. It’s like they think they’re the only ones in the world.”
I nodded in agreement. “What do you do when you run up against them?” I asked.
“I move into the grass,” she said, “which I don’t mind, except they don’t even recognize that someone had to move out of their way. I don’t exist to them.”
Sidewalk people — a new term for people who are so caught up in themselves that they don’t even see all the people around them.
It made me sad that she was going to a university where she would have to deal with that. When she went to Christian college, everyone was so friendly and polite. They held the door open for others. They smiled and said hello.
Now, she has sidewalk people to contend with.
And it will only get worse when winter is upon us.
At least I didn’t raise my kids to be sidewalk people. For that I am also thankful.