A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called, “The Magazine Gesture.” It described how simple, every day acts of kindness often mean more to people than extravagant gifts. Just to know someone is thinking about you can do more than simply brighten one’s day, it can impact someone’s life. Many of you wrote and told me of such experiences. “The Magazine Gesture” seemed to resonate with many readers.
This got me thinking about the little people in our lives. What do unexpected acts of kindness mean to them?
Right before the holidays, I had the opportunity to teach at my daughter’s preschool while the staff was treated to a luncheon. While there, I witnessed three acts of kindness created by parents for their child.
At the time, I didn’t know why I felt compelled to take pictures of these loving gestures, but I do now.
It is because these photos carry a message, and it’s a powerful one.
Children, just like adults, love unexpected little acts of kindness, too. Contrary to what we might think, these gestures need not require a large amount of money. They need not be electronic. They need not be the latest and greatest toys on the market.
They must simply come from the heart. (Sound familiar?)
And here’s a little tidbit: Children love to envision their parents thinking about them when they are apart…because there’s a good chance they are thinking about you.
Next comes the evidence. (As you know, I love displaying Hands Free Evidence that so beautifully illustrates the message of the day.)
Here is my story (and the evidence) of how something small can signify something big, in the eyes of a child…
As I stated earlier, I was acting as “teacher” for a precious group of four-year-olds. The regular teacher had left me with a detailed schedule that I was diligently trying to follow (although there were plenty of “little assistants” who loved to tell me what was coming next).
Around mid-morning, I announced that it was snack time. The children obediently went to their cubbies and pulled out their snack bags.
While most of the children immediately sat down and tore into their sacks, I noticed one little boy simply gazing at the front of his sack.
I went over to him and found him staring at this:
When look you look at this, you probably see a Christmas tree on a lunch sack.
When I look at this, I see the result of someone who went Hands Free for five minutes to bring a smile to her child’s face.
When a child looks at this, he sees this: My mom wishes she could be here to laugh and eat snacks with me. She is thinking about me. My mom loves me.
I only wish his mom could have seen the smile she put on her son’s face that remained there all morning long.
Shortly after snack, it was time to go outside for recess. As predicted, the temperature had drastically dropped during the night, so for the first time in the season children had colorful warm mittens and scarves, in addition to their puffy winter jackets.
As I helped children their zip coats, I noticed one little girl concentrating with utmost determination to insert something into the top of her mitten.
I walked over and saw these cute little pouches in her hand:
When I look at this, I see the results of someone who took time to go Hands Free so her daughter could have toasty hands on a blustery winter day.
When a child looks at this, she sees: My mom wishes she could be here to hold hands and keep me warm. She is thinking about me. My mom loves me.
I only wish this mom could see the smile she put on her daughter’s face that remained there throughout the entire game of tag.
After recess, it was time for lunch. The children excitedly washed their hands and sat down at their tables. I watched as an array of character lunch boxes were opened. As I walked around commenting on their favorite princess or superhero, the contents of this lunch box literally stopped me mid-sentence:
When you look at this, you probably see turkey meat, a cheese stick, garden peas, and orange segments.
When I look at this, I see the results of someone who took time to go Hands Free so his child could have a wholesome, nutritious lunch.
When a child looks at this, she sees: My daddy wishes he could be fixing lunch for me right now. We always eat healthy foods together. He’s thinking about me. My Daddy loves me.
I wish this dad could see the smile he put on his daughter’s face as she gobbled up every single morsel that he lovingly packed.
In two short hours in a preschool classroom, I witnessed three loving gestures created by parents that enabled their children to feel their love, despite being apart. Furthermore, these acts were displayed in “languages” that children could see, feel, and understand. The message was as clear as the twinkle reflected in the children’s eyes: You are loved.
These gestures did not happen by accident. Someone made a point to let go of distraction long enough to make these gestures happen. These acts of kindness took time, thought, and a bit of effort.
But judging by the joyful, pleased, proud, and amazed expressions on the most adorable faces, I would say this to every parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent or friend of a child:
Do it for the first time.
Do it again tomorrow.
Do it when you are “too tired.”
Do it when you are “too busy.”
Do it when you think it won’t matter.
Do it because it will matter.
Do it because it does matter.
Do it because the person on the receiving end of your simple act of kindness is a little guy or girl who makes your life worth living.
What are some of little acts of kindness that you do for your child or loved one? I would love to hear about them. Share your ideas by leaving a comment here or send me a picture by clicking the “contact me” button under my logo. Better yet, get busy figuring out what you can do to make a little person smile today!