As a dad I have plenty of those warm-fuzzy moments watching my kids. They do things that make me so proud...usually when they are least aware of it.
I have lunch with my second grader every Wednesday at her school. It's fun to go to the lunch room and eat with Madison and her friends. I've met a lot of little kids and their parents this way. Last week we were munching away on our chips and pizza when one little friend made a comment about a guest the had in their class. He was a Native American.
They had apparently flown this gentleman in from Arizona to talk to the school about Navaho life-style and traditions. Around the lunch table, with the eternally-unchanged school milk cartons scattered about, one little girl chirped, "He made me nervous...I didn't care for him much."
"Why?" I asked.
"I don't know...he was just different from me" was the reply.
I asked my daughter if the man made her nervous. "Naw. I thought he was neat" was her reply; I didn't much about it.
This evening we were at a PTA function...a family cook-out and 2nd grade concert. We went and ate too-expensive pizza from red Papa Johns plates while the kids ate a little and played a lot. For a moment I lost track of our preschooler, Reilly. She'd wandered down behind a gentle slope with a group of other little kids.
After a moment I went after her to see what she was doing. When I caught up to her she was playing a pre-school version of "hide and seek." Each of the little band was taking turns hiding one of their toys in plain sight. Then they'd all run over to a tree, count to five or six together and then run and find what was hidden.
What struck me first was the language Reilly was counting in: Spanish. Spanish?? Yup, there is my little Albanian missionary kid counting in Spanish, playing with kids she'd never met. The second thing that struck me was the kids she was playing with. She wasn't playing with the crowds of well-dressed, golf-shirt and loafer-clad suburban kids. She was playing with the Hispanic kids. Cool.
It's hard to express what I think and feel about how my kids are growing up. People that others find odd, my kids think are normal. My kids aren't frightened by minorities or those different from them, they are attracted to them.
I don't know whether this is a result of spending time overseas or what. I just know that I'm proud of my kids.