Respecting the Feelings of Children

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Early each year we combine business and family time by gathering for a weekend of planning for Notgrass History for the coming year. This year we met in Nashville.

The weekend wrapped up this past Sunday afternoon, but Ray and I stayed at the hotel one extra night. During the evening, one of our children called to see if we could help them retrieve a teddy bear that one of their children left in their hotel room, which was the room beside the room we were in on Sunday night.

Stuffing a teddy bear; Courtesy Library of Congress
Stuffing a teddy bear in the early 20th century; Courtesy Library of Congress

They had already tried calling the hotel but had found that its lost and found department wouldn’t be open until Monday morning. Having checked the room to be sure they had everything, their guess was that the teddy bear was likely in a pile of bed linens. Since they would be busy driving the rest of the way home yesterday, I offered to take care of the search for them.

On Monday morning, I called the front desk as soon as the lost and found department opened. The business-like (and a bit brusque) woman on the other end of the line told me that no, there were no teddy bears in lost and found. When I asked if the room had been cleaned yet, she said that it was already occupied with other guests.

Pursuing the issue further, I told her that the teddy bear was likely in a bundle of sheets and asked if we could check in the laundry. Rather unfeelingly, she told me that the linens had been sent to an off-site laundry, but she did ask for a description of the missing bear.

By this point, I didn’t have much hope that the teddy bear would be found, but I slid a note under the door of the room next door, explaining our dilemma. When we loaded up our own luggage to leave, I could still see the corner of my note under their door.

Ray asked the front desk again when he checked out and was assured that a manager at the hotel was going to call the laundry.

When we were a few miles down the road, I got a call from an unknown number. It was from the lady in the room next to ours. She said they had checked all over, looking inside drawers and everything in search of the missing teddy bear, but had not found it. When I thanked her for her kindness to our three-year-old grandson, she told me how she understood and explained, “We have a grandchild with a duckie!”

Though I still had little hope of finding the lost teddy bear, the call warmed my heart.

Several hours later, I got another call from an unknown number. It was a kind and enthusiastic hotel employee, letting me know that the teddy bear was no longer missing. He had indeed made a trip to the laundry, but had been rescued before going for a swim in the washer.

She asked for our grandchild’s name and address and assured me that he would receive his boxed-up treasure in a few days. A few minutes after we hung up, she called back to ask for our grandchild’s age and the name of the teddy bear!

In the course of the day, I talked to three faceless women. One sounded brusque and business-like; two sounded kind and sweet. The latter two displayed a quality I admire greatly — respect for the feelings of a child.

Children are like grown-ups. They feel happy, sad, brave, afraid, angry, affectionate, bashful, bold, discouraged, and excited. Like us, they appreciate and need people who will feel with them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice,
and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15


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  1. When our oldest daughter was little, she had a rubber fish with a suction cup on it’s nose that would stick to the bathtub. When we went with her Daddy to a convention and stayed with him in his hotel, the fish was left. We had not yet missed it when we received a box from the hotel with a note saying the maid had found it, and knew how much she liked it, so they sent it right out! (we had visited with the maid a few times) We still have that fish today 27 years later.

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