“Abuela’s Answer,” Friend, Mar. 2006, 38–39
Tired but happy after her soccer game, Gracie walked to the bleachers where her family sat. Her whole family, including her abuela (grandmother), had come to watch the game.
“You played with honor,” Gracie’s papá said as he put his arm around her shoulders.
Gracie grinned. “Gracias, Papá.”
The family piled into the car. When Papá suggested that they stop for lunch to celebrate the team’s victory, Gracie and her younger brother and sister cheered.
The restaurant was crowded, with only two empty booths available. Four players from the other team walked in after Gracie’s family and took the booth behind theirs. They began talking loudly, insulting the players on Gracie’s team.
Gracie looked at her parents and saw dismay on their faces. They were as uncomfortable as she was with the vulgar language they were hearing. She wondered what they would do.
Papá started to stand when Gracie’s abuela leaned over the back of the booth and started talking to the young people.
She didn’t say anything about their language but asked questions about their hobbies. One of the girls shyly said that she liked to knit.
“Come over to our table,” Abuela invited. “I’ll show you what I’m working on.”
The four players trooped over to join Gracie’s family at their booth. Everyone slid closer together to make room for them.
Abuela opened the knitting bag she always carried and pulled out a stocking hat. “I can make one of these in 30 minutes.”
“Could you show me how to do that sometime?” the girl asked.
“It would be my pleasure,” Abuela said.
“You’re pretty cool,” one of the boys said.
Abuela smiled. “For an old lady.”
“For anyone.” He hesitated, then looked around to Gracie’s family with an embarrassed expression. “I guess you’d like it if we didn’t talk like we did.”
Abuela patted the boy’s hand and smiled. “You are right.”
“Thanks for talking to us like we’re real people,” the girl said. “Most people ignore us.”
“You are real people. Even more important, you are each a child of God,” Abuela said. “Always remember that.”
Gracie watched a look of wonder come over the girl’s face.
The boys and girls returned to their booth and finished their meal. They left shortly after that.
Papá gave Abuela a hug. “Mamá, you are amazing. All I could think of was their bad language. I didn’t remember that they were also children of God.”
Later that night, Gracie asked Papá, “How did Abuela know what to say to those kids?”
“Your abuela treats everyone the same,” Papá said. “She knows that we’re all God’s children.”
Gracie hasn’t forgotten that lesson—nor her abuela’s example.