Monday, January 07, 2013

Putting My Cart Back

The other night, I was having dinner with my friend Super-G.  We were discussing shopping, and Target, and giant parking lots on frigid days.  And the question: When everyone else leaves their shopping cart shoved off to the side of the lot, do you do the same, or  do you take your cart back to the carrel?

I told G that I WANT to be someone who brings my cart back, even admitting that in an effort to prompt myself thus-ward, I sometimes ask, "What Would Michelle Duggar Do?" Of course, Michelle was smart enough to have an army of kids to handle cart return for her, but I like to imagine Michelle on a rare trip out into the world alone, tempted (as we all are) to leave her cart shoved up on the median so she can get back in her nice warm car.  But Michelle, of course, returns the cart.  Because she is a woman of excellence...and (let's be honest) because she lives in Arkansas and everyone has more time there.  But I feel a sense of camaraderie with her as I weave my cart between the minivans & snowbanks to return it to its intended place.

This would be noble if it were evidence of my overall character--a small part of a greater whole.  But really, it's only area where I'm even trying...and I'm relying on a reality TV star for help.  Laughing with Super-G, I realized that if I want my gravestone to say more than "Here lies a woman who always put her cart back," I need a better plan.

When I found out we were going to be foster parents, I ordered a series of children's books about developing character. They're smart and charming, with various qualities explained in terms of woodland creatures and how their unique characteristics help them thrive. They're also, I discovered, designed for kids quite a bit older than Princess Peach.

So I've been reading them. They have me wondering what a few minutes of thought, prayer & planning around character might offer in terms of quality of life.  And this: What if we work on becoming better people--people who put our cart back at Target--not just because it makes us nicer to others, but because it makes it more enjoyable to be us?

I'll be back tomorrow to share (read: admit my total embarrassment) about the character quality I used to have, but now can't seem to find.


kim said...

Since listening to Joyce Meyer talk about it putting the cart back I'm more conscientious. But before listening to her I think I typically put the cart back. But I wonder if it's that much of a big deal because don't store hire folks to put the carts back??

KimberlyH said...

On the subjects of character and children, I just finished reading a great book:

Trish said...

Hey, Trish,

As someone who was heavily involved with IBLP and Bill Gothard for over a decade, please be careful of those character books. They are part of a very innocent attempt to exchange unmerited grace for works. I know you have a very good radar, but any books published by IBLP are extremely dangerous, especially for children, and even more for children in the foster care system. IBLP has publicly commented over the years many disparaging things about foster kids and adoption and it's led to some very bad things, including the physical abuse and death of some children. A good website for info on IBLP and how it looks so good and goes so wrong:

I hope this is helpful and not upsetting.