Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kindness as Taught by Toddlers

I like to believe that there is good in everyone.  In fact, I think that we're all, as God's children, born with innate goodness about us.  It may later fade, either by choice or circumstance, but really all you have to do is take a look at our children to see what basic goodness looks like.  Yesterday, which I swear I will blog about later this week when the dust clears, was a harrowing day for me.  But it didn't start out that way, and the way it did start out really got me through the day.  And now, a little story about kindness.

My sweet baby boy is a creature of routine.  He comes by it honestly, as his mommy is also very big on routine.  Between my job and Jake's, and our collective family travel, Howie is called upon to be very flexible.  But when he is home, when he is in his spaces, he wants things to happen when they should and how they should.  

For instance, every morning, Howie arrives at school at 7:45 to have breakfast with his friends.  He gets excited when we pull up to the school and starts chattering about his friends and his breakfast, starts trying to guess what breakfast will be, telling me his preference (waffles. hands down. every time). He then starts telling me which friend he will sit next to, and so on.  But yesterday was different.  Yesterday, Daddy was here till Monday morning--a rare treat.  So yesterday, we had breakfast as a family and I took Howie to school later.  Well, this did not bode well.  Instead of being seated at the breakfast tables, Howie's friends were in the Big Gym playing with big rubber balls.  We walked into the gym to a chorus of "Hi Howie's!" Two friends even came to give him hugs.  

But then, something went amiss.  My sweet, usually sociable boy clinged tightly to my leg and wouldn't play. He started to cry. Then he started to wail. His school day was not supposed to start in the gym.  It was supposed to start with breakfast.  For about fifteen minutes he was inconsolable. Of course, I was upset by this because I hate to see my baby cry.  But what I saw during those fifteen minutes was downright heartwarming.

After trying to talk to Howie for a minute, I looked up, and there stood seven beautiful little people, each holding their own ball out to Howie.  Then, an onslaught of tiny voices: "here my ball Howie,"  "here's the red ball Howie,"  "don't cry, we share Howie," "it's ok, Howie," "play with me Howie." I nearly burst into tears right along with him.

Some might say the moral of the story is don't mess with the kid's routine. That is certainly some sound advice.  But to me, it just showed basic goodness. No wonder Christ told us all to be as children; they could teach us a thing or two about loving others.


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