We were at the mall today and I let my son spend some time at the indoor playground there. Another little boy about his age fell down, and I watched in amazement as my son stopped what he was doing, walked over to the boy, offered a hand to help him up and said, “Are you O.K.?” Then enthusiastically asked, “Do you want to play with me?”
He’s only three. We’ve told him ever since he first started interacting with other children to be kind and thoughtful of others. Until today I hadn’t known whether or not he’d taken those lessons to heart. When you’re in the trenches “parenting” day in and day out, you feel like white noise that’s filtered out by all of life’s other distractions. I’d never seen him actually show compassion toward another peer before. It’s something to watch the culmination of a hundred conversations and lessons taught silently with actions. It’s the pay off for the tempers kept under control, explanations give patiently, time taken to discipline lovingly.
Isn’t this why we moms and dads do what we do? To raise a person who reaches out to their fellow man, offers help and kindness, contributes something good to society? I saw a small glimmer of this today in my son’s attempt to help that little boy. I can only hope that he continues to reach out a hand to the world as he grows older, and it reminds me that we all should reach out more often to those around us.