Amidst the troubles of the world, isn’t it refreshing to witness true warmth within the human spirit? It happened to me, this weekend. With a stranger. On an airplane.
I was sitting there, about to take off, as the friendly, white-haired grandpa next to me asked me the reason for my visit. My precious little baby cousin, with Angelman Syndrome, I said. I went on to say how my daughter, my cousins, and my sister travelled to Dallas for the weekend to see, support – and walk – for our little 18 month old cousin, diagnosed with the rare disease (affecting only 1 in 15,000 children) of Angelman Syndrome, a neuro-genetic disease which leaves many children with the inability to walk or talk. Research for a cure is underway. And we walked to fund it. As the man in the seat next door continued to listen, I felt moved to share some tidbits about our little “angel,” a beautiful, happy, blue-eyed, blonde-curled little girl with a contagious smile and effervescent laugh.
That stranger sitting next to me looked at me, smiled, reached out his hand, and said, “I don’t even know you. But take this. Please put it in the Angelman fund.” And he handed me some money.
I was overwhelmed with the warmth, the kindness, the human spirit within this man, who suddenly wasn’t such a stranger. I thanked him as he replied that he “isn’t always the ‘perfect steward,’ but he tries his best.”
And that is the beauty of the human spirit. And the warmth within it.
Let the beauty and the warmth cast on, as I ask myself:
How do we nurture – foster – facilitate – help our children, not necessarily to be the perfect stewards, but to try their best?
Modeling. Yep, that good ‘ole role modeling. My daughter witnessed the entire interaction, and she, too, was touched. Maybe someday she’ll be that steward for another.
Instill empathy. Any chance you get, remind your kids to put themselves in other people’s shoes. There are so many teachable moments out there.
Share stories, like this, with your kids . . . as you encounter them personally or stumble upon them online or in the newspaper.
Teach them that “Kind is Cool.”
It is. It’s cool to watch someone being kind. It’s cool to be kind. And it feels cool all over when we are kind.
And for more tips on teaching that It’s Cool To Be Kind, check this out. (There’s also a great list of books for kids of all ages.)