Live like you are loved
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
Observation is one of the key steps in learning theory. I gather my fair share of education just from watching people. Today, I share with you a moment I am glad I did not miss.
On Monday morning, I was sitting in the line of vehicles wrapping the parking lot of Hillpoint Elementary School waiting to leave my older son at the front entrance of the school when I observed a mother and son walking to school. The pair reached a point in their walk when the mother decided she had taken him far enough to the street corner of the sidewalk, and she stopped. She hugged and kissed him goodbye.
The son, about 7 years old, exited the embrace but then stooped down to pull a yellow dandelion to give to his mother. She took the flower and kissed his cheek. They separated. He walked a few paces up the sidewalk near the bus ramp and turned to see his mother and waved goodbye. He proceeded up the sidewalk. As he walked, his mother turned away to head across the street towards their housing development. This concerned me, because I thought she should have waited until he reached the front entrance. But I realized that she only stepped across the street to wait at the adjacent corner. She continued to watch her son.
This routine must be well practiced each day, because the son seemed to know his mother was still watching. As he turned the corner to the sidewalk that runs parallel to the school’s front entrance, he pushed his arms out in front of him and waved both hands aggressively as if to say, “I am reaching for you from a long distance.” I looked back, and his mother was still watching him. She had a slight grin on her face. Before he was out of her sight, her son walked the last few paces and turned towards where he knew she was standing and squeezed himself very tightly with a bear hug. Finally, he threw her a long-distance, “Don Cornelius signing off” goodbye kiss.
By this time, my vehicle was at the front entrance of the school, and I opened the door to say goodbye to my own son. I wished him a good day and said, “I love you.” Even as I said the words, I thought of the loving scene that I watched between the mother and son. As a mother, I was touched.
Pulling away from the school, my mind wondered about the mother. She probably had no idea what others were thinking as they watched her son’s beautiful displays of affection. What touched me most was that he was not bothered by the audience. This young boy was a clear reflection of a life well-loved, and he was unashamedly displaying that love before eyewitnesses like me.
Last week, I wrote about character and what our friends reveal about the truth of our character. Our children reflect the social models in their surroundings. Love is a character. When we are loved well, it will show. When we are not well-loved, that will show also.
It reminds me of the anti-drug public service announcement commercial from the 1980s where the father finds his son’s stash of drugs and confronts him about it. After repeated questioning from his father, the son exclaims, “I learned it by watching you.” The PSA ends with the statement, “Parents who use drugs have children who use drugs.”
Considering the mother and son pair I introduced to you today, perhaps their PSA would say, “Parents who love have children who love.”
To the Hillpoint mother of your loving son, I thank you. I realized that God had me to watch your son this week because He wants me and all God’s children to live like you are loved. God loves us with a ridiculous, often unexpected, indescribable, unfathomable, unrelenting and far-reaching love. When that little boy threw his mother that last kiss, I felt a tug on my heart from my Heavenly Father. I should be that little boy every day of my life. I should live so that whoever is watching me can see the result of my Heavenly Father’s love just as I saw the result of that mother’s love on her little boy. Will you accept this challenge along with me today? Live like you are loved. The world is watching how your Heavenly Father loves you unashamedly.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.