“Have you ever tried too hard?”

If we’re ever in public, and I try to give you advice…RUN!!  I mean well.  I really do, but sometimes that just gets me into trouble.  So, here’s my story…

I was out of town and killing some time in the Princeton Library in New Jersey, USA.  I teach my children French at home, so I happen to be stalking the French book aisle in the children’s section.  I was only going to be in town for a few more days, so I couldn’t justify the expense of the monthly membership.

As I was picking our next round of books, the librarian brought over a woman who was looking for French books for her 3-year old son.  Score!  I could help!!  I’ve been through this!!

So, after the librarian left, I started talking to the woman in the aisle.  She said she was moving to France soon and that she was trying to get her son used to the language.  I told her I could recommend some titles!  She was relieved!  Wasn’t this great??!!  I’m helping out a fellow mom!  Woohoo!

We first started talking about Babar.  She mentioned that they had watched the show on TV recently, and her son found it scary.

Instead, I recommended these adorable books, the adventures of Zoe and Cleo, none of which the library carried.  But, I thought her son would just LOVE these books so much, I went out of my way and showed the woman on my phone what they looked like, etc.  She was very nervously grateful.

Then, here’s where it happened.  She wanted to take out some French DVDs, too.  I had been eyeing the Kirikou DVDS that week, an adorable animation about an African boy who speaks French. I estatically handed her “Kirikou et la Sorciere” because it was the one I had seens years before, and I just loved it!

Oh, but why stop there?  I told her, “Here! Take my blog business card, and if you need any more recommendations, I’d be happy to help!”

I then went back to my seat and felt satisfied. By the time I read my daughter a second book, a sensation of fire rushed to my face!  I jumped up from my seat, and whisked my baby in her stroller straight back to the French shelves.

The woman wasn’t there. “Oh, no!”  I ran around the floor looking to see if I could find her, but no such luck. She was gone.

I had just recommended a DVD with VERY SCARY witch scenes that would be far too scary for a 3 year old.  Just because I had liked this movie, it was totally inappropriate for a child so small!!!  What had I just done???

Needless to say, I never heard from the woman.

Have you ever meant well, but done something totally wrong by mistake? Do tell us in the comments!  

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Jennifer Burden


World Moms Blog 

Photo credit to Cod Gabriel.  This photo has a creative commons attributions license. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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