I love my kids. In fact, I love all kids. Especially the littlest ones, who see things that I used to see, but for some reason I miss now that I’m all grown up.
This story from Lana Schlecht, a dentist in Ellendale, N.D., reminds me that it often takes a child to see what the rest of us are missing.
“Dear Nicole, Sometimes a chance encounter opens a door. I was at my hairdresser when she happened to mention that her daughter’s second-grade class had a student missing one day.
The milk break came in the afternoon and since one person was missing, the milk was given to a student whose family could not afford to buy it. The child always sat and watched the others have a snack of milk or juice.
My hairdresser’s little daughter exclaimed that she wished the child could get milk every day since that student was so very happy to finally be included.
I grew up very poor, so I have a real heart for those kids. The situation they are in is not their fault, but they can’t do anything about it.
As an adult, I can finally help. I got my church involved, and we took this on as a project. No child is now excluded from milk break. If a family can’t afford the snack, we provide it for them.
Nutrition is vitally important for these little ones. If my hairdresser had not been touched by the situation told to her by her own little girl, the problem would still be around.”
It took the eyes of a child to notice someone hurting, someone left out, someone feeling different because of their lot in life.
Do you remember how touched you were by the little things in life when you were a child? It’s childhood innocence, but it’s also childhood intellect.
The little people in our lives know enough to giggle when something is funny, stomp their feet when someone is ignoring them or wave “hi” when someone else is being ignored.
Imagine how fulfilled your life could be if you started acting like a child. Maybe you don’t need to stomp your feet to get your boss to pay attention to your great ideas at work, but you could try waving at a stranger who looks like he or she might need a friend. Imagine how quickly that act of kindness could catch on.
I ask my kids every day after school, “What was your act of kindness today?” Sometimes they shared a swing, sometimes they helped pick up dropped papers, sometimes they admit they still have to work on one that day.
Kindness doesn’t have to be big, just consistent. If you can’t figure out anything nice to do, ask a child. They are full of ideas.
Continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.