Oh the Places Y’all’ll Go!: Paris, FrancePosted: November 1, 2012
As a Supernanny I’m always encouraging the kiddos to be open to making new friends, and the parents to socialize the kiddos often, and in fun ways. I set up play dates for Mr. Man and Big Cat, taking them to the park to meet classmates, or spending an afternoon at the house of a pal. I would call up the parents and make it happen! Sometimes my nannying schedule calls for the combining of two families together on random days for a few hours. Many of the families are friends so the kiddos know each other, and if not it provides an opportunity for the kiddos to meet, and spend some time together. I recently combined Princess and Captain Awesome with Doc and Rebel for a fun morning spent with Princess and Doc drawing pictures for each other, while Rebel and Captain Awesome held a full-on gibberish conversation in the playhouse, at snack time all sitting together eating and enjoying each other’s company; truly a great day. (It is worth noting that the next day, Doc asked his dad to make his pancake in the shape of Princess’s name.)
I teach the kiddos to be open to meeting new people, and that they should give someone a chance before deciding not to be friends with them. Sometimes having had a bad experience or hearing about a bad experience with a certain “type” of person will color a kiddo’s willingness to give others of the same “type” a chance. Case in point, a child who has not had a good experience at school, having not bonded with a teacher, may not be in a hurry to try another classroom. I try to explain that not all teachers are the same, just like not every mommy or daddy is the same, and that he/she should give new people a chance. I’ve found this to be very true in my own life. Before going on a backpacking trip through Europe with my siblings, France being on our itinerary, I had many people warn me about how rude the French were and that we should prepare ourselves for impoliteness. I kept an open mind and was very pleased with my experience in France, so much so that Luke and I went to Paris together this past summer.
It was on this trip that I had a most memorable encounter with a Parisian airport employee. It was early morning, the day of our departure from the “City of Lights”(yes lights, flawless fashion, amazing food, monumental museums, incredible cinema, and not-to-be-believed beauty), and I was frazzled, as I often am in airports, so much to keep track of/remember, I get overwhelmed, not wanting to hold up other people, and as y’all know I’m not my best self in the morning. At one point a slight man in uniform opened his hand to take my passport for inspection. Having a blonde moment, I extended my hand as if to shake his. I wasn’t playing dumb, folks, I had a legitimately dumb moment. I realized halfway through this gesture that he wanted my passport, not to meet me, and started blushing from embarrassment when to my surprise and true appreciation, he took off the glove of his right hand, one finger hold at a time, took my hand in his and said, “Je m’apelle Henri. Enchante.” I thought it was so sweet and gracious that he did not make me look like an idiot and feel like a fool, but instead extended such hospitality and human kindness in one small act. I returned his handshake and thanked him, my cheeks now flushed with the excitement of making a new Parisian friend. I will always appreciate that man, and the French by extension, who have only ever been a friendly people in my experience.
It is because I have had experiences like this one, in particular, that I know not everything said about a person/group of people is true, and I remind the kiddos that despite what they may read/watch/hear, it’s important to look for the best in people, not the perceived worst. Look for common ground with new people, after all, their Miss Cheryl was once a stranger!