The Flower Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year OldI often learn valuable lessons from my 3 year old son. I consider him to be my teacher. My teacher's lessons have no boundaries; no time table and nothing about the lessons are easy to spot. They just happen.
My teacher loves pretty women. Whenever one talks to him, he gets really shy for a few minutes, then comes out of his shell and usually flirts...big time.
Every summer for the last five years, my wife and I have taken a vacation at Panama City, Florida. For the last three years, my teacher has joined us. Once we arrive at our hotel, we usually unload the car and head straight to Wal-Mart to grocery shop for the week. On our way into Wal-Mart, my teacher saw a white rose that had apparently been dropped in the parking lot. Upon looking around, no one was in sight, so he picked it up. I thought that he would immediately give it to his mother, but he held onto it.
Since we didn't want to waste one extra second of our vacation time in Wal-Mart's aisles, we tore through Wal-Mart, grabbing items and tossing them into the shopping cart like we were on one of those game shows...minus the prize money of course. Aside from feeling like game-show contestants, our Wal-Mart excursion was uneventful, that is until we were ready to check out. I had no idea my lesson was in the making at that moment...in Wal-Mart. Like I said, the lessons that I learn from him are never planned and always seem to surprise me. And nothing about the lessons is ever easy to spot in advance.
Once our cart was full of food for the week, we entered one of the cashier lines. As everyone knows, there is no short line in Wal-Mart. So we waited. In front of us was a really pretty lady in her mid to late 20's. Shortly after we arrived in line, the lady in front of us looked at my teacher and smiled. Then she did it several more times before my teacher began to feel a little bashful. He asked me to pick him up in order to "hide". Once I picked him my teacher just continued to stare at her from the safety of my arms. Luckily, she had no idea that he was doing this. I mean, I didn't want her to feel like she was getting stalked or anything. I asked my teacher a random question hoping this would take his mind off the lady. He didn't as much as blink. My teacher was obviously in awe of her.
Finally, he whispered in my ear. My teacher wanted to give her the flower that he had found. I then put him down and whispered in his ear that if he wanted to give the flower to her, to just walk over and do so.
"No." He said.
"I thought you wanted to give it to her?" I asked.
"Yes, but you do it Daddy." He replied.
"I’m not going to do it for you..." I expressed.
"Pleeeease!" He pleaded.
"If you want to give it to her, then you need to do it." I told him.
"No...you." He shot back.
"Are you a little embarrassed?" I asked.
"I will go with you, but if you want to give her the flower, you need to hand it to her...not me!" I stated.
"Do you want to do that?" I asked.
He nodded his head yes.
Seconds before my teacher wanted us to approach the woman ahead of us, my wife ran out of line to exchange a food item. Usually my teacher loves running around Wal-Mart and would happily join in on the quick jaunt with my wife. But on this day, the distraction was the woman in front of us. When she finished her transaction with the check-out clerk, with my teacher still in my arms, we walked over to the woman.
"Excuse me." I said to the woman. "I know this sounds crazy", I continued, "...but my son wanted to give you something." He reached out and handed her the flower he had been holding the entire time we were shopping.
Her face lit up and a huge smile appeared. She immediately thanked my teacher.
"This is so sweet!" She said. "What’s your name?" She asked.
My teacher just sat there like a deer in headlights. He did not move, nor did he reply. So I told the woman his name.
"I love that name!" She said to my teacher.
"How old are you?" She asked.
Again, he was speechless and motionless and finally I answered.
"Tell her that you are 3."
"You are sooo adorable!" She replied as she gave him a little tickle on his stomach.
This broke the ice and he began to play peek-a-boo with her, with a big smile on his face.
Finally, when her groceries were all bagged up and loaded in her cart, she leaned over and gave him a kiss on his cheek. Then she said, "This just made my day...and my week...thank you so much!"
Once she was out of sight, I told my teacher that what he had just done was a very nice thing to do. He smiled and said thanks.
I was a little curious why he chose that lady, I mean, there were plenty of people in Wal-Mart that he could have given it to. I suspected that it was because this lady was in front of us and he had time to think and then do something about it. I believe my teacher's love of pretty women started with my wife and some of her friends. In fact, he considers one of my wife's friends to be "his girlfriend". My wife finds it cute and entertaining that my teacher flirts...with "older" women!
"Why did you give it to her?" I questioned.
"Just because...I wanted to." He boasted.
"That’s it?" I asked. "No other reason?"
"Nope, 'just because' is the reason, Dad!" He concluded.
"That is awesome." I exclaimed.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: How wonderful it is to brighten someone's day "just because" or for no reason at all.
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.