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.
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.