Clear blue skies. Sun beaming down. Warm ocean breezes. Time for ice cream! My daughters and I stopped for a sweet, cold treat while shopping in Harbor Town on a recent vacation. Relaxing in chairs on the sidewalk, enjoying our ice cream, it was a perfect time to people watch.
A dad and his son, of about 7 years of age, stepped out of the ice cream parlor with their fresh purchases in hand. Dad led the way taking a bite of his chocolate cone with every step. His son lingered a bit behind, trying to manage the walking with the eating. Suddenly, he stopped and called in a panicked voice to his dad. “Dad, I think I spilled some on my shirt!” The way he said it, one could tell that it was a big deal to him. Perhaps the shirt was new, or perhaps he had been reprimanded for spilling before, but whatever the reason, this child saw it as a monumental problem. I held my breath waiting for the dad to answer.
Dad replied casually while continuing to walk at his steady pace. “Son, that’s what washing machines are for. You can spill all that you want to. Let’s go.” The relief on his child’s face was immediate and he quickly dug back into his ice cream. What a wonderful thing that father just did for his son! People often say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but this dad actually showed his son what it means. Witnessing this interaction just made my day.