It was a bright, sunny spring day with puffy clouds in the sky. My children and I were returning home from a busy morning of running errands. Since we were ahead of schedule for once, I decided we would stop at a local coffeehouse to grab a refreshing treat. I love the coconut lattes there and my children love their green tea–fruit smoothies. We could sip our drinks and talk about what the evening held, which included grilling out and a trip to the local baseball diamond where both of my sons had games scheduled for later that evening. As we rounded the corner of the building to reach the front door, a teenage boy stood near the door with his back facing us. I thought he looked familiar. His navy blue coat and curly brown hair seemed to belong to the son of a friend of mine. As we got closer, I saw him turn his head to the side and then realized it was my friend’s son. I spoke his name cheerfully to greet him. The reaction I got was not what I expected.
He snapped his head around quickly, looking our way. As he did, he also turned to face us and hid something behind his back. As we grew closer to him, it became evident what was being held back from our view. My nose smelled cigarette smoke, as my eyes saw the concerned and worried look on this teenager's face.
I made small talk with him, asking about his involvement in a sport I knew he played and questioning how he was coming along in his quest to find a job. I told the children to go into the coffee house and order their beverages and that I would catch up with them in a minute. After a few exchanges of pleasant sentences with this teen, I gave him a hug and then went in to pay for our family's drinks.
It didn't take long for one of my children to pipe up, commenting on what they'd seen. "Mom! Was ________ (boy's name) smoking a cigarette?" one of my kids inquired. Before I could answer, another chimed in, "Oh yes he was! I saw it. AND I smelled it! Smoking cigarettes is bad!!!"
And so that day our little outing to grab something refreshing to drink turned into an impromptu lesson about our thoughts and actions when we encounter what we perceive to be the sins of others.
[Read the rest of the article at The Better Mom.]