Just Be There

Photo by Peter Bond

I couldn’t believe it. I told my son that he could get any candy he wanted. He had the entire aisle. Literally hundreds of options to choose from. But he couldn’t make up his mind. He lost it. At one point he wanted to quit and just go home.

Without picking anything?!

Oh no, I know quite well how that story ends.

So, I waited.

I tried to convince him to get this fruity candy or that chocolate goodie. I was unsuccessful. Truth be told, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But not good enough.

I was tired and I wanted to get going. Target is not a place where one lingers.

But I waited. And watched. In silence. For what seemed like an eternity.

He couldn’t think. He couldn’t choose. He couldn’t process. This is the same 8 year old kid who crushes me every time we play Monopoly. He annihilates me so badly in this game that he often tries not to win; just so the game will last longer.

You get the idea. This isn’t a kid who doesn’t understand money or is unable to make decisions. He simply couldn’t make a decision at that moment.

And I get it.

I’ve been there. And I’ve been around students and staff when they’ve been there too.

It’s not pretty, but it happens. We want to help so we try to reason or talk someone into a better frame of mind. This never works. Don’t try it. I have and you fail miserably.

Just wait.

In silence.

And be there for that person.

No judgment and no blame.

The storm will pass. Oftentimes without any rhyme or reason. And when it does, you will be glad you waited.

So, eventually my son was able to choose.

Well, sort of.

When he came to, he said Daddy, pick 3 numbers between one and five and I will pick a number and that will be the candy I get. Whoa. What? Who am I Wink “Freakin” Martindale? How did I get roped into this candy confusion? But I was glad the storm had passed so I played along.

I chose the number 3.

Which meant Hershey’s Kisses for my son.

We could then exit the aisle.

And get out of Target.

Without any damage.

Remember, sometimes all we need to do is just be there.





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