Last Friday, my wife and I took the kids to Donkers, an old-fashioned candy and ice cream shop in town, which was hosting live music. One of the flavors they offered was “Superman.” It looks like rainbow sherbet but is actually ice cream. As the woman behind the counter was digging out a scoop for my middle daughter, I asked the woman what it tasted like. I could have waited and took a spoonful from my daughter’s bowl, but those of you who are parents know kids have an unnerving ability to talk with their eyes. My daughter would have given me that look, the one that says, You are depriving me of an extra bit of this very special treat. So in self-preservation, I asked the woman behind the counter what Superman ice cream tasted like. And, with a smile you only get from a genuinely warm and friendly person, she said, “It tastes like childhood.”
Wow. Living poetry. Sometimes we come across those moments quite unexpectedly. When someone says or does something so profound, you can do nothing but pause to appreciate them and appreciate the moment . . . and all is right in the world. The best thing was I was sharing it with my kids. It was a kind of nostalgia, but I was experiencing it for the first time right then. I’m not a perfect parent. Who is? But I knew for my three daughters that being out with mom and dad on a Friday night, getting ice cream in old candy shop, and listening to a live band playing family-friendly music was the kind of memory that would someday spark nostalgia for them. And I, somehow, got cosmically tuned in to a future memory of their past. Of that very moment. Those few simple words spoken by that very nice woman gave me the fleeting clarity of what it means to be a parent.
So my challenge to you is simple: Be aware of the impressions you are making on the people important to you.