I came across a quote recently that read, "Don't teach kids to count, teach them what counts most." I started to question if a parent can really teach empathy or if there are traits some kids have and others do not. No, I am not going to tackle child development on a Sunday morning.
I am going to share a story instead.
The kid asked for money for a pizza party and to pay-off a lost bet. We gave her six dollars. Three dollars for the pizza party, one dollar for the lost bet and two dollars back to the parents after the party. That was the plan, except nothing came back to the parents.
"Where's my two (just enough for a medium cinnamon spice tea from Caribou Coffee) dollars, kid?"
She didn't have it.
Turns out that three dollars went towards her pizza, and when she realized a friend did not have money for the party, the remaining three dollars went to her friend. I can't fault that, or the extra pair of sweat pants she brought into school for a friend who didn't have a pair for gym, or any of the countless other gestures she has made I am not aware of.
Kindness. Acceptance. Heart.
My tea can wait.
It's an amazing feeling to see this in your child. To a young teenager, it's "just being a good friend, Mom." Kids. She sees it as nothing. I know it's so much more.
I know because I was that girl.
Growing up, my mother worked at least two jobs to ensure my siblings and I had a place to come home to every day. There was food on the table and we had clothes on our backs. I knew we didn't have what others had but I don't know if I really knew at that age what was missing.
It's rather pitiful how much I can't recall time frames from my childhood. I direct all inquiries to my sister. I really don't remember a lot but I do remember Mary Jo. Mary Jo was everything I wasn't and she offered kindness and acceptance to this teenager when she needed it most. I don't remember if I ever even thanked her.
To my daughter, here's an extra stash of dollar bills, school supplies, weekend get-togethers and rides home. Use at will and continue to be the friend you are to others. They may not thank you now but they will be thankful for you later.
Kindness matters. Keep it up kiddo.
Random Acts of Kindness: A Day in the Life Sunday by Lisa Rosendahl first appeared on lisarosendahl.com