From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

September 15

I couldn’t wait for my son to talk. Only later did I realize how little control I had over what he’d say and when he’d say it. We had taught our son to be observant; what we hadn’t shown him was when and why to keep his observations to himself.

When he was three, he hailed a couple of elderly women. “You’d like my grandmother,” he assured them. “She’s old, too.” Another time he waved away a smoker: “Hey, you’re going to die!”

Each time, we’d stammer an apology and sweep Sam off for a chat. At age four, he began to grapple with the notion that words could embarrass or hurt.

At my health club, we passed an acquaintance whose left arm ended just below the shoulder. I smiled, or gritted my teeth as I imagined what Sam might say. As I pulled him along, his eyes widened, but he said nothing.

Later, I complimented Sam on his restraint.“He knows he only has one arm, Mom,” he replied, patiently. “I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”

By God, he had it! And then. . . .

“Mom? Could we take his picture?”

Maybe we have more work to do.

Barbara Hoffman

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