Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Object Lessons

I love it when living object lessons just fall into our laps. Truly, I could think of stories and examples and recite them to my children. But it certainly doesn't mean the same thing as actually having a "Yes, this really happened," experience to share. Like today (you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

We have talked about "sense of entitlement" ever since we went on a family mission trip to Mexico in 2006. Prior to leaving we spent several months preparing ourselves for the lessons we were to learn. Sense of entitlement was clearly a new phrase to our then 11, 10, 8 and 5 year olds. They caught on quickly to its meaning but didn't really start to understand until they were actually in the orphanage and surrounding areas. The day we went to the "colonia" at the city dump really opened their eyes. But of course returning home to comfortable suburbia quickly gives us varying forms of memory loss. So we continue to talk about these things.

This afternoon I was volunteering with a local non-profit agency that serves underprivileged families. The families had been invited to dinner and a show. While I was waiting for more families to arrive, I witnessed an interaction between another patron and the hostess. The patron had come to complain about the food at the buffet. She claimed that she had not been told that the buffet was mostly child-friendly. In return, the hostess very kindly stated that whenever the scheduled show is a children's show, the buffet is set with children in mind. So, in addition to the usual salad choices, they were serving chicken fingers, hot dogs, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, corn, and mixed vegetables. The woman raised such a fuss that the hostess offered for her family to choose from the main menu (not charging her an additional fee). The woman agreed to this option, took the menus and returned to her seat. About 5 minutes later her husband arrived in the lobby and said, "You gave us these menus but they are all for lunch. We want breakfast." The hostess explained that breakfast had closed 2 hours prior and all that was being served was lunch. He very rudely handed the menus back to her and said, "That won't do." Did he not realize that she had already offered him a deal by allowing him to order from the menu for no additional fee when it didn't come close to the price he had paid for the children's buffet and show?

All day I've been trying to wrap my mind around the sense of entitlement this family felt. Meanwhile the 34 people who showed up from the non-profit were overly grateful for the meal they were receiving. I didn't hear any complaining, all were extremely polite, and thoroughly enjoyed their meal. I so enjoyed my time getting to know some of them on a more personal level. Most of these children had never eaten at tables with cloths and centerpieces before. They wanted to know about the property and what my role was. We talked about our families and school. I learned all of their beautifully creative names and how to do their hair (I'm always looking for new ideas for HopeAnne). I'd much rather spend a meal with any of the 34 than the 2 who caused such trouble with the hostess. And likely, their discontent did not end with the conversation with the hostess.

As if that is not difficult enough for me to understand, on the way home Mariana told me about another family that was overheard in the dining room. They were dressed in their Sunday best and had likely come from right from church. They walked into the dining room to see what was being offered. One turned to the other and said, "This doesn't look like our type of crowd. Let's go somewhere else." I pray that none of the members of the non-profit group heard this comment. Instead, I pray that their meal and their experience seeing a quality show for the first time left them feeling blessed, special and loved.

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