[Daily Impact #39] “Compliments from a stranger…”

I took the boys to McDonalds the other day.

Not because they have an awesome, healthy menu that I wish to feed to anyone, but because they have a Playplace.

The boys were out running errands with me all morning, they were hungry and needed to run around a bit, expend some energy, and stretch their legs. It’s still too cold and muddy out to pack a lunch and find a park to eat at, so McDonalds it is.

Why more places don’t offer a play area for kids is beyond me. As a parent, I would love to have some other options other than McDonalds or Chick-fil-a to bring my kids for lunch. Sounds to me like a missed opportunity for many other restaurants. Chipotle, are you listening right now?! Hint, hint…

We do the usual…6 piece McNugget Happy Meal for Callan, 4 piece McNugget Happy Meal for Camden, and I get a hamburger Happy Meal for myself.

I read a long time ago that American portion sizes at McDonalds are much too large and can contain your daily allowances of fat, sodium, calories in one sitting. One of the ‘healthier’ items on the menu in terms of portion size, calories, fat, sodium, etc… is the hamburger Happy Meal, so that is what I usually get. Besides, the kids get an extra toy they don’t need this way.

As I am cleaning up and throwing things away while the children play, I woman stops me to tell me, “You are such a good dad”.

I thank her for the compliment and go about my business.

This isn’t the first time random strangers have stopped me to tell me that I am a good dad.

Grocery stores, Ikea, Target, restaurants, you name it. This happens to me more frequently than I would ever expect it to.

This day though, I sat down and took a minute to think about it.

What am I doing different that makes other people feel the need to stop me and say something?

I mean, if I am going to stop and compliment a total stranger, they have to be doing something that really stands out and impacts me.

I don’t feel like I am doing anything special.

As I sat there, I started to look around me.

With the exception of grandparents, every single person was on their phone.

Moms. Dads. Brothers. Sisters. They all had their faces planted in some electronic device. Even some of the younger kids were sitting there watching videos while they were eating.

Now I don’t pretend to perfect when it comes to phone use.

A big part of my job is to be available to clients when they need me or have questions, so I do check my phone when a notification comes in, but when I am with my kids I try to keep my use of technology to a minimum and make sure I am interacting and attentive to them.

I love talking to my kids, I love their questions, I love hearing their random stories and how they view the world around them, and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.

The window of time when they want to talk to me and be around me is small, and before I know it I will be replaced by school, sports, friends, or whatever technology the future holds for us.

So, I will keep my phone in my pocket and live in the moment with my kids.

I don’t know if that makes me a good dad or not, or if that was what that stranger was even referring to, but I’ll take what I observed and fully embrace the compliment nonetheless.
#KJHouseAndHome #BeGenerous #StoryAthlete