We went on a couple field trips this week: to the Karlsruhe Zoo and the Barefoot Park. The kids were thrilled.
We rode the train down to the zoo. We had to change trains at Neustadt. I think all that was the highlight of the trip for the kids.
So, I must say that Germans are super friendly and helpful. It’s so refreshing after living in several states where people would stare, and walk by, maybe glancing back in disgust, thinking what an awful mother I must be, kinda like the story of the Good Samaritan.
Did you know that’s a law here?
But, even before they see a mom struggling, the Germans offer to help – by lifting a stroller up a flight of stairs or onto the train, offering some candy as a distraction during a meltdown (better than casting angry glares or walking away in a huff).
The stranger who had balloons in his backpack. Seriously. Prepared, a little? He had those skinny, twisty balloons and he blew some up for my son and his friend to use as inner tubes in the water. And then he carried my son on his shoulders across the river rapids at the Barefoot Park.
It teared me up. He was so kind.
And the kids here? I am so impressed with the respect they have for everyone. I watched my friend’s toddler take off for the slide area at a playground (why do they always do that?!) and the boys who were sliding skidded to a stop and made sure he was safe. I have seen kids in the States kick kids in the face at the bottom of the slide and laugh at the crying. More than once, mothers of nasty children told me, with their eyebrows and shoulders shrugged, “Boys will be boys.” And I had all girls at the time.
That’s not an excuse.
People are just kind here. They care for others. I am so grateful. I point it out to my children that this is appropriate behavior. These people are blessings to others. This smile, wave, or simple helpfulness is being Jesus to others.
It doesn’t matter that there’s often a language barrier. I speak some German. I did learn lots in college, but that was many years ago. I try to speak it whenever I have the opportunity, even if I mispronounce words, or forget the proper conjugation or agreement. People are gracious. And my greatest pride is when I can have a successful conversation in German without a glance.
I love it here.