Monday, October 8, 2012

Teaching Children about the Big Impact of Small Acts of Kindness

Recently, the kids and I were at Potbelly getting lunch. As I was standing in line to place our order, Tyler, my nine-year-old, walked out of the line to find a table. He happened to cross paths with a little girl his age who was carrying a tray of empty cups and wrappers to the garbage.

Unexpectedly, her tray tipped a little, and a cup fell off of it. In slow motion, I watched the look on her face, which said something like, "Oh no, what am I going to do now?" She looked around the restaurant for help.

Then I watched Tyler as he contemplated what to do. He looked at her and at the cup on the floor. Then he bent down, picked up the cup and put it back on her tray.

Even though the exchange was very brief, it seemed as though time stood still. I had enough time to appreciate the point of view of both children and feel immense joy as I watched my child do something nice for another child.

I even had enough time to wonder if there was more to this story than just one child helping another. Who knows, maybe Tyler and that girl will meet again some day, and she'll say, "Hey, you're the kid who picked up my cup for me at Potbelly."

Honestly, I was not planning on writing a blog about this, because it was such a minor, every day experience -- it's not like he saved her life. But then I remembered that that is what my blog is all about -- making memories out of every day.

And I realized that Tyler's small act of kindness could have made a big impact on that little girl, her parents and anyone else in the restaurant who saw it. It certainly made a big impact on me, and I made sure Tyler knew how sweet it was, too.

So, I am sharing this story because I believe it is vital to take the time to notice and appreciate the small, every day positive experiences in life. Otherwise, life may just pass us by.