Why Don’t You Do Something? Maybe You Already Did
—May your past bear good fruit into your future

May your past bear good fruit into your future

I didn’t know what to do. So I froze.

If I’d had more warning, more time to think about it, maybe I could have responded.

But instead, I just watched it happen, this adult interacting with a child in a way that made me want it to stop.

Why had I done nothing?

It was a gentle teasing from a father to his child, a playful interaction. It was nothing inappropriate in any way except for age. The little daughter simply wasn’t old enough to understand the game.

Another year, maybe two, and she would have laughed along. She would have participated in the game and perhaps won it. She wouldn’t have been confused. 

The room was full of people watching. We all laughed a little. But the longer it went, the more uncomfortable we grew, at least the sensitive ones among us.

The little girl began getting frustrated with her father. Maybe he would have broken in another minute anyway.

But a young lady stepped in. She emerged from the crowd and whispered something in the little girl’s ear.

None of us heard what it was.

But it worked.

The little girl walked away from the game and began to play with a friend. Her frustration was gone. The dad let it go. The party went on, no one the wiser.

I breathed a sign of relief.

Except I didn’t keep the relief.

I now had a guilt hangover.

  • Why hadn’t I been the one to interrupt the game?
  • Why was I intimidated by the number of people in the room?
  • Why was I afraid I’d look like a party-pooper if I had interrupted the game between the father and daughter?

Why had I done nothing?

A few days later, I found the opportunity to ask the young lady what I wanted to know. “What did you whisper in the little girl’s ear to turn things around?”

She said she told the little girl, “Remember the lollipop I said you could have later? You can go get it now!”

I thanked her for intervening that day. I told her I was proud of her. She’d made me feel better, and I know she made the little girl feel better too.

Why had I done nothing?

Upon reflection, perhaps I had done something.

I had raised that young lady, the one who spoke up, the one who braved the crowd and saved the day.

She was my grown daughter, once my own little girl. Maybe I had done something right in the raising, by God’s grace.

Or, more likely, maybe in spite of my raising, by God’s grace, she was now doing the right things.

Maybe I still should have spoken up that day. Maybe I should have been the one who took action.

But then again, maybe I had already taken my action. I raised a daughter who will speak up.

I’ll count that as a team victory.

May my children continue to surpass me in every way.

May your past bear good fruit into your future. 

Have you ever had a guilt hangover from something you didn’t do, but wished you had? Share in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Why Don’t You Do Something? Maybe You Already Did
—May your past bear good fruit into your future

  1. Barbara Harper

    It’s always hard to intervene between parents and children, especially when it’s not a case of outright abuse or definitive wrong. What a great solution your daughter came up with, that wasn’t combative or confrontational. It’s heart-warming that you passed on your concerns and perceptions to your daughter.

    Yes, I too often freeze in such situations, too. Partly because I can’t figure out what to do, partly because I am not confrontational. Like you, it takes me a while to think through a situation to decide the best course of action. Though I hope to do better, by God’s grace, maybe my part in such times n the past has been to pray.

  2. Joanne Viola

    This is beautiful in so many ways, Lisa. But truly, I share your prayer …. may my children’s lives bear more fruit than I could have anticipated. But maybe that is just what the Lord has promised – to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could think or imagine. You encouraged my mama heart today!

  3. Jean Wise

    wow inspirational. We never never know the impact of what we do now will affect the future. I was thinking of one of my own kids just this morning. She has sprinkled the walls of her home with neat sayings, instilling in her own kids a positive giving mindset. The home she and her hubby have created is a fun, small small. The kids see they work hard as a family. respecting one another. I know she is passing on values to those kids who right now have no ideas how blessed they are. Thanks Lisa for a wonderful blog post.

  4. Donna

    Lisa, what a great story! This gave me such hope, I feel sometimes I have too many such stories that I stuff in my failure box, but I love the way you thought through the situation instead of stuffing it. When we take time to think through it objectively like you did, we reframe it through a clearer lens and are able to learn from it! Thank you!

  5. Paula Short

    Lisa, your story is just amazing and heart warming. I felt sad for the little girl at the beginning, but began smiling and nodding and Amening to your words as you progressed along. Wow, such a wonderful woman you have raised. To God be the glory. Blessings.

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