Katie is in her favorite place sitting at the feet of Grandma while brushing her doll’s hair and listening to conversations dance between three much loved people. Aunt Grace tells a story and they all laugh. Being just five, Katie doesn’t understand everything that is said, but she loves being in the presence of love.
Grandma’s friend, Millie, begins another story that takes on a different feeling. Whatever is said, Grandma reacts differently. She puts her hand to her face and says, “That’s the most outlandish thing I have ever heard. Those little Hooligans” and she stamps her foot.
Katie looks up into Grandma’s face and sees a deep frown. She jumps up, grabs her doll and runs into the kitchen with a look of horror on her face. “Mama, Mama, Grandma just said a bad word!”
“Why Katie, I’ve never heard Grandma say a bad word in my whole life. What did you hear?”
“I . . . I can’t say it, it is too bad.” Katie’s face is all twisted up, and her eyes are about to brim over with tears. She is holding her doll way too hard.
“Well, sweetheart, I can see you are upset. There must be some misunderstanding – Grandma doesn’t say bad words. Let’s go and see what this is all about. Come on now, you can come in with me.”
Katie doesn’t really want to, but she and her doll cautiously hide in the folds Mama’s big skirt as they enter the room where Grandma and the others are still talking.
“I just can’t believe it! Did they really do that? That’s just the most outlandish thing I have ever heard! Those little Hooligans!”
“See? Grandma is still saying it. Oh, Mama, I have never heard her say that word before, and she even stamped her foot when she said it. Mama, you said we were not to do that.”
Katie’s mom presses her hand to her mouth to keep a giggle from slipping out. “Yes, dear, I can see why you are upset.”
Now they have the full attention Grandma, Grace and Millie. “Katie, is something wrong?” Grandma is the first to ask.
“Well, it would seem that Katie heard some pretty bad talk coming from a conversation she heard in here.”
“She heard bad talk? What could it have been?”
“She said it was a word she did not know and that you stamped your foot when you said it.”
“I did that? Oh my, what could it have been? Thinking back, they tried to retrace the stories they were telling. “Oh my goodness, I stamped my foot and said that it was outlandish the way those little Hooligans destroyed Millie’s newly planted garden.”
“She said it again, Mama!” Katie is still very upset.
“Come here, my little sweetheart. I would not upset you for the world. I am so sorry I stamped my foot when I was talking a minute ago.”
“Mama said we were not to do that – that it was a bad att . . . atta . . . .”
“A bad attitude.”
“Yes, that’s right . . . a attitude. Mama, didn’t you say that it is what is in our heart that counts and we can have a good attitude or a bad one?”
“Yes, honey, but . . . . “
“Katie is right. I was thinking about what the kids did to Millie’s garden and I did have a bad attitude about it. I should have forgiven them and prayed for them. Isn’t that right, Katie?”
“That’s what Mama says.”
“I was wrong to stamp my foot and I did have a bad attitude. Will you forgive me?”
“Mama says we have to ask Jesus to forgive us first.”
Mama is still having a hard time controlling her own reaction to Katie’s questions. She must not laugh or even smile at this most inappropriate time.
“Of course I will ask Him. 'Jesus, I had a bad attitude today and I ask You to forgive me.'" Grandma says as she takes a peak at Katie. 'Now, Katie, will you forgive me too? And will you, Gracie and Millie, forgive me too?'"
“Of course, Edna, we forgive you.”
Katie’s pinched face turns into a big smile as she jumps into Grandma’s lap wrapping her arms as far around her as she can. “Yes, I forgive you Grandma and Jesus does too.”
Someone is always watching, wanting to be just like you.
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