A Teachable Moment

Homeless person's hands holding out coffee cup for change.

Homeless person's hands holding out coffee cup for change.

A Teachable Moment


Rico Lamoureux


All Rights Reserved


With tray in hand Ben looked for a small vacant table, as he would be dining alone this afternoon. The fast food restaurant was rather busy but he spotted a place to sit, a father and son near the window where he usually ate lunch while people watching.

Typical duo the two were, the boy around ten years of age fiddling in his chair and dipping fries while his dad checked his cell every few minutes, eating in silence when not swiping at his phone.

About midway through their meal a homeless man mere feet from them and separated only by plate glass took up position and began to beg passersby for change, the father using this obstruction of his view as an excuse to look back to his screen, his son’s gaze a little more thoughtful as he ate and watched the panhandler so alien to him before following dad as treating it as just another thing to ignore, and so the boy went back to swiveling his chair with a mouthful of food.

Ben could do nothing but subtly shake his head in distaste at the missed opportunity right before their eyes. What a teachable moment this father had so callously thrown away. A moment of substance that could be infinitely more impactful than just sending his boy off to school with a “now keep those grades up,” or some other generic form of parenting. An example of real life, of how harsh it can become if one gets off track, standing right there before their eyes.

This is why you should be working as hard as you can while in school. This is why it’s important to start thinking about your future now were the words Ben imagined saying if that boy was his.

He then thought of his pregnant wife and unborn child, vowing never to miss a teachable moment when life presented such.


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