If your child is sleeping in a backpack while you’re hiking, someone walking by and shout, “WHAT A CUTE BABY! LOOK AT HIM SLEEPING! AWWWW!”
As you may have guessed, such remarks inevitably wake up your child who now has only gotten a brief cat nap and will be comatose for the next two to three hours.
I suppose it’s one of those things that people can’t help doing. I often take notice of cute children now that I have one of my own. However, I would hope that we could get a little solidarity with fellow parents who must understand the value of naps.
I’ll say this: If I saw a couple hiking with a child sound asleep in a hiking backpack, I would consider going off the trail and hiding behind a tree if I thought it would help that kid take a long nap.
Sure, I may sneak a peak at the kid.
I may even stuff a bandana in my mouth to keep myself from saying something.
And even if people resist the temptation to shout exclamations of joy at the cuteness of your sleeping child, there will always be other stupid things that people will say.
The kicker for me came when a big macho dude saw us walking by with Ethan strapped to Julie’s back. We’d been taking turns with him that day, but his lack of knowledge wasn’t going to stop him from shaming me.
“No offense dude, but shouldn’t you be carrying him on your back?”
No offense. Right. I stifled what I really wanted to say to him and snapped back, “We take turns. We have an equal marriage.”
I wasn’t exactly the nicest guy at that moment, but compared to what I wanted to say, I let myself think that he was getting by pretty easy.
In both the case of the loud gawkers and the shaming macho man, I didn’t say too much. But let me tell you, I was calling down curses in my mind. I was praying that bears would tip toe out of the woods and chase these people off.
“What’s wrong with these people???” I asked no one in particular.
But then, I also had to think about what’s wrong with me.
Even as I called down curses on the nap killers and backpack shamer, I was muttering some really stupid things on our hikes. I was so focused on what I wanted that I didn’t give them the very thing scripture asks me to give: blessings.
Who knows what good things stirred inside those people who saw Ethan sleeping? Maybe he was the perfect bright spot in a rough week.
Who knows what kind of insecurity that macho man feels every day?
I sure don’t. I didn’t want to care either.
But then such a selfish outlook is quite stupid for a follower of Jesus.
As it turns out, I said some of the stupidest things on that hike.
The smartest thing I said to myself was, “Forgive me for being so selfish. I forgive them. Bless them Father. Bless even even the noisy ones.”