Like most moms, I love it when people compliment me on my children, especially when they are remarking positively on their behavior. My absolute favorite is when it is coming from someone from the older generation. I don't mean my parents' generation, though that's nice too, but I mean more like my grandparents' generation.
Last week we were doing the usual Wednesday grocery shopping and as I was loading things into the back of the van, an older gentleman in his 60's or 70's came up to me to compliment me on how well behaved my kids were in the store. I smiled and said thank you like I always do when that happens, and it does happen fairly regularly. (For some reason I almost always have older ladies compliment me on the kids when we eat at an IHOP. I wonder why that is?) Though it isn't a strange thing for it to happen, in my mind I always think about how I really have absolutely nothing to do with how well they are behaved. Oh I can instruct and correct all the live long day, but ultimately how cooperative they are comes down to them and the grace of God. Sure they were good that day, but how many other days were they trying to tackle each other in the produce section? Let's also remember that it works both ways- just because you see a frazzled mom with kids going nuts, don't assume that she's just not a good parent. Even the best kids have their low blood sugar, don't feel well, going through something at home melt down days.
Feel free to compliment the mom when the kids are being good, so she can be sure to catch her kids being good and praise them, instead of just catching them acting up, but let's also extend some grace and understanding to the mom whose kid is crying and throwing a fit in the middle of the store. Who really knows what has been going on that day or in the days leading up to that epic melt down in Target or Wal-Mart. We're all just trying to do our best.