This afternoon, Sheila and I went as hosts for STFK Movie Night group to the Regal Riviera 8 in downtown Knoxville to watch When the Game Stands Tall (released in theaters yesterday). After the movie, we drove across the Gay Street bridge back into South Knoxville and stopped for dinner at the Shoney's Restaurant.
We sat at our table, and people were walking all around. The waitresses were serving their tables. Customers were making their way slowly around the buffet. People were leaving as more were being seated. From the middle of this controlled chaos, I heard a young girl's voice speaking so courteously to an adult nearby that it immediately demanded my attention. She was taking a seat at a table to my left. I could not see her face, because she was sitting with her back to me. I stared for a brief moment. There were no adults at the table, just the girl and her younger sister.
As I turned my head back towards my plate, I realized that I was being observed intently by a man walking in my general direction but heading for the girls' table. I knew immediately this was the girls' father, cautiously looking after his children. I felt that it was important to assuage his fears, so I decided to confront him.
Within a few moments, he stood back up and walked to the other side of the buffet with empty plate in hand. My plate was also empty, and I decided it was time for second helpings of the entrees. I stood up and got in line behind him. I told him that I had overheard his little girl speaking kind words to someone and how it had caught my attention. I expressed my genuine sentiment that such good manners by a child speak highly of her mother and father.
Clearly, the man was not expecting to be complimented on the behavior of his child. I think he was humbled. After a short pause, he said that he tried to do his best to raise them properly, and he always made sure they were in church.
Proverbs 15:20 (NRSV) says, "A wise child makes a glad father, but the foolish despise their mothers." How very true that is. Parents, you too should diligently try to raise your children in the instruction of the Lord, teaching them to respect elders and to be courteous to adults. In the end, this is a reflection of your own relationship with God and a testament to how good of a parent you are.