May 20, 2014

Unexpected Kindnesses

There are those moments, when I truly wonder if what I'm saying is getting through to my son. Am I teaching him to be kind enough, brave enough? Am I teaching him how to be skeptical when necessary and caring when he should be?

I try to model it. Just the other day, I let a man in front of us at the check out. I had about 20 items, and he only had a container of potato salad. He was a large man, at least 6' 5", wearing an orange vest and a transit badge. But, he had a kind face, and I had nowhere special to be. So, I asked if he'd like to go ahead. His face lit up, and he thanked me profusely, several times, and then told me he hoped I had a wonderful day and that I'd just made his. Which made me think, have we really gotten to the point where people are shocked by kindness?

Obviously so...because just tonight, my son walked out to my husband and I on the couch with two dollars in quarters. He reminded me that we needed to put money in his envelope for a field trip his class is taking on Friday. And then he informed us that he was going to get another two dollars, of his own money, because he wanted to pay for his friend. He continued on, telling us how his friend says he doesn't have a lot of money and that his dad needs to buy groceries. Holy cow! These guys are six! And they are already sorting through the problems of the world.

I immediately teared up. And my husband looked at me out of the side of his eyes. The empathy sort of took us by surprise. We told him how proud we were of his caring nature and that it was wonderful that he wanted to pay for his friend...that this is how we take care of the people who are close to us. It is just this sort of selfless friendship that the world needs more of. The kind that children can teach us, apparently better than anyone else.

So yes, I teach my son to be a good person through actions every day. But he reminds me through actions like this, that what I do does matter, and that simple kindnesses are amazingly important.

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