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More Than A Starbucks

on January 17 | in Our Family | by | with 26 Comments

Daddypotamus here. I try not to invade Heather’s blog very often, but I wanted to share an important announcement with you: Our local Starbucks is closing for good. As I write this, the party commemorating the last day of business winds to a close. The original location of my standing weekly Daddy/Daughter date is now gone. All things must come to an end, I know. But this one is significant to me.

“What’s the big deal?” my friends have said. “Just go to another Starbucks.”

I would. And I will. But it’s not so replaceable. It’s more than just another Starbucks.

Katie - 15 months

As I recently mentioned in another blog about Starbucks, I noticed early on that one barista named Erica took extra special care to memorize her customer’s names. That’s just good salesmanship, some will say. Maybe. But how much money is she going to get from a 15 month old kid? Yet she and her co-barista Brian made a point to welcome my daughter by name each and every time we walked in that door.

They complimented her coat, her shoes, her dollies, her hair – fussing over something so that she felt special. No, it’s more than that. Erica and Brian were so consistent that they made feeling special a normal experience for her. They affirmed Katie in ways 90% of adults never think to do with anyone else’s children. For nearly two years now, they have been happy to see my Katiegirl each and every time we visit.

Which reminds of me of my OWN childhood

One of the things that bothered me most growing up was the way adults outside my family completely ignored me. They might pretend to listen, but they obviously didn’t care what I said. I was just in the way. I received a very distinct wound that came from the repeated reinforced reactions of adults treating me like I was a nuisance or worse – as though being a child made me a lower class citizen.

Adults don’t respect children anymore. Perhaps they never really did in Western culture. Lump ‘em in with seniors as the least productive members of our culture, and pray to God you don’t get seated next to one on an airplane.

Honor Isn’t Just for Adults

Which is why these two baristas (and others) now stand apart as notable people in my history. To watch other adults honor the unique and miraculous in my little girl has some sort of healing effect on my heart. I know my daughter is growing up with a better view of who she is and how she can expect to be treated. She will have a different understanding of what it means to be a joint heir with Christ because she will have received the dignity of value and personhood since she was able to walk.

Which brings me back to the way we parent our children. I can’t claim that we had it all together, or that we even had a solid plan of what we were going to do when Katie was born. Heather did 100% of the research up front and would present me with various paradigms for us to consider. It’s been an evolving process ever since, but watching Katie blossom in public with boldness and kindness and joy that lights up the room tells me that something in her responds like a parched flower to rain when she is recognized, honored, and made to feel valuable.

I’m still unlearning my old mindset of parenting, wherein I require and expect 100% obedience quickly and without debate. I’m not there yet. But I can see how a child can live when she isn’t belittled, but rather empowered to make choices like an important person.

We all know that children are to honor and obey their parents. But I think we could all use a real life example of parents honoring children. My daughter shines in public, and it’s definitely NOT because I’ve never misapplied discipline. But she is privileged enough to have adult family, friends, and baristas who intentionally recognize her worth and her personhood even as a toddler.

She is my precious little girl, and I am so very proud. She makes my eyes twinkle.

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26 Responses to More Than A Starbucks

  1. Heather says:

    Love this post, Daddypotamus. Reminds me of the time we took Katie to a restaurant and she wanted to “pay the bill.” It hurt my heart to see staffmember after staffmember completely ignore her as she stood there holding up the little black check book to each one of them. I wanted to intervene so badly and say “Do you not SEE HER???” And yet . . . that is what the world is like.

    Sometimes, that’s even what home is like, and it shouldn’t be that way. Thank you for inspiring me to be more affirming.

  2. Daniel says:

    I’m fully expecting someone somewhere to misinterpret what I’m saying and assume that we let our children do whatever they want because we’re afraid of hurting their feelings. To be clear, we control the circumstances but give Katie as many opportunities to choose as possible. Her choices lead to consequences, and she gets to experience them.

    Discipline is perhaps the most controversial topic for young parents. I appreciate that. My goal here is not to tell others how to parent their children.

  3. Great post today, Daniel! Honor is so important for children.

    Heather, I love your story about Katie wanting to pay. What a trooper! :)

  4. GREAT post. I agree with your thoughts on parenting, but I think your story of including children in a group of who we honor is VERY impacting. Thanks for this. I actually copied it and put it in my journal so I can always remember to honor everyone regardless of age.

  5. dianthe says:

    great post! nothing irritates me more than adults who ignore children – is your life really so miserable that you can’t be bothered to acknowledge my 2 year old who is frantically waving “hi” to you? if i’m out and about and become irritated (which happens often!), a child with a sweet spirit can turn my attitude around with a quickness – even a sweet baby crying can calm me down – i think it’s God’s way of bringing me back to the moment and reminding me of what’s truly important

  6. Melinda says:

    What a great post! It makes me think of Namaste – the divine light in me, salutes the divine light in you. Not you if you’re like me. Or you if you’re an adult. But you, whoever that may be. As an adult, it is difficult to not be annoyed by children when they don’t behave and you can see that the parent has completely checked out. However, when I see a child that is well behaved and just wants to talk, or have coffee with her Daddy or “pay the bill,” how can you help but smile and want to talk to them?

    Side note – saw Daddypotamus the other night at the SMC happy hour and didn’t realize it. You looked familiar, but I just didn’t make the connection until the next day! Sorry I didn’t get to meet you!

    • Heather says:

      You saw my husband and I saw your bf in Edible DFW today! Love it! P.S. Tell her congrats :)

      • Melinda says:

        I will! Wasn’t it a great article? I just love her commitment to great food from local sources!

        • Heather says:

          I do, too! I can’t wait to go back, but it will be awhile. The first time Daniel and I went we were so glad we didn’t bring Katie. The restaurant is definitely on the sophisticated side and we respect that. So, until I can leave the house sans baby (which will be a LONG time since he is exclusively breastfed) I am going to have to resign myself to reading about the new menu. :(

          • Melinda says:

            Well that’s no bueno! Maybe we can meet for coffee sometime and I’ll bring you one of the bacon wrapped cinnamon rolls. ;-) Or a dessert. My best friend’s old college boyfriend is their new pastry chef.

          • Heather says:

            Bacon wrapped cinnamon rolls? That is exactly the kind of thing that sounds so bizarre you know it has to be good! Wishing they were open right now so I could send Daddypotamus on an emergency run. Coffee sounds good, too. Maybe you can help us christen a new Starbucks home!

          • Melinda says:

            If Dena says that’s how I should eat my cinnnamon rolls, then that’s how I’ll do it. Although I have a feeling that’s definitely something that should be shared rather than eaten alone. I bet it’s crazy rich.

            I’d love to help you christen a new Starbucks home! Don’t know what part of town you’re in, but there are two new locally owned coffee shops in Fort Worth now! Here’s a link to an article about them: http://www.dfw.com/2011/01/13/390422/coffee-houses-without-all-the.html

  7. ooh, bacon wrapped cinnamon roll. sounds super yummy!

    ahem.

    great post, it’s always good to be reminded that children are people too, who need to be honored and treated with respect just like everyone else, if not MOREso. a quote i have read a few times comes to mind: “what we do to children, they will do to society.”

    i’m so glad that in a world full of people who disrespect children, you had a constant source of the opposite for your little girl! i can’t help but wonder if erica and brian will be working at a different starbucks close by? that would be reason enough for me to drive, seeing as how impressive their character is!

  8. Alexis D says:

    Great post! My daughter is very social – waves and says “Hi” to everyone when we are out and about. It really is sad when people just keep to themselves and wont acknowledge that a cute 22 month old girl is saying Hi to them. What happened to people being friendly?!

    We dont eat out much but last Saturday we went to Panera Bread and were sitting by the drink station. My daughter would peek over the booth and say Hi to people going by. Later on the manager came over and said she really made his day by saying hi to him and being really friendly and gave her a cookie. I liked that he took the time to say hi back and appreciatd her friendliness. Although she can get a little extreme and tell people, “I love you!” – still working on that one haha :)

  9. Sarah K. says:

    Wow! I have to admit I teared up a little while I was reading this. To hear you talk about your daughter as more of a person than just a toddler put a big smile on my face. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Ok so I’m mortified. I had no idea this Starbucks was closing- didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. This is where I had my first date ever- EVER and I’m married to that guy! =(

    Enough about me, fabulous post! I like it when you chime in, Daddypotamus!

  11. Karen says:

    I liked this post. The concept of respecting a toddler seems somewhat foreign among my friends who don’t have kids. I’ve been chastised a couple times for allowing my daughter to do what she wanted, although they did weren’t seeing the big picture. For example, she sometimes like to drink her milk privately, so she told us to go away — my childless friend then said to me, “You cater to her every whim?” My husband and I tried to explain that this is not a battle for us in the great scheme of the many tantrums we allow her to have. We like to respect our daughter’s wish for privacy when she asks for it — it doesn’t happen all the time. It makes me angry when people believe that adults should have total control over their kids.

  12. InfamousQBert says:

    hey! is that the starbucks in GP? i didn’t realize y’all were from DFW, but i totally recognize that store!

  13. [...] a coffee date for two years [...]

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