Growing up, my parents taught me right from wrong at an early age. I know it was not Ok to steal (learned the hard way at age 6) and it was not ok to hurt others intentionally or by accident.
If some one was down, the right thing to do was try and pick them up the best you could. Wether it was lending a helping hand, sparing some change if you had it, or just being a shoulder to cry on.
These are values that Becky and I are trying to teach our 4 growing kids. Now they may be young, ranging from 3-9 years old, but they know when they are doing something right and when they are not.
Today, this is becoming harder and harder to see examples of kindness in the world. It is even harder to relay this message to our kids. Especially, when they are witnessing these negative actions first hand. There are incidents of cruelty on the bus and in the classroom with name calling and bulling. Not to even mention the amounts or incidents we see splashed across social media. Such as daycare workers pushing down kids and terror attacks by hateful people all across the world.
Today, I still try and live by those same principles of kindness. Becky and I work hard to teach our kids by example. I have many rules that I try to live by. The one I want my kids to see is when I try and make someone else day a little more up lifting. Kind of like a “pay-it-forward” concept. I like to do it because it makes me feel better knowing that I am putting a smile on someone else face. I also like to have the kids participate if they are with me. Even though they may be nervous helping a stranger, they understand why.
For about a year, I have been working on my relationship with our oldest, Jack. Now we are pretty close as far as Father and son. I coach him in sports, help with home work, talk about music, etc. However, I wanted more out of our relationship.
As often as possible, we will go out to breakfast just the two of us. We just talk about what it means to grow up and to be a “Man.” One morning while were were enjoying some pancakes in our favorite little diner a couple of police officers came in. I told jack about the importance of police officers and how hard their jobs are. I explained to him why they were uniforms and why they have all kinds of gadgets on their belts. I also explained to him that they take an oath to “serve and protect” us no matter the cost.
When we were done he walked over to them and thanked them for what they do. I know they felt proud, but not like I did. As we paid for our bill, we also picked up their check. It explained to jack at this point that I like to help others when not expected. I told the waitress not to let them know, that I was not looking for a thank you. I was thanking them for what they do to keep me and my family safe.
I explained that it it going out of your way, even for a split moment, just to put another’s situation at a higher priority than yours.
The other day, we had been doing some shopping as a family. As we were heading out the doors an older couple was making there way across the parking lot. Jack waited at the door and held it open for them until they made it it. The man looked at jack and said “Thank You, Sir.” As Jack told him that he was welcome, he looked up at me with approving eyes. I didn’t say anything, just put my arm around him and gave him a hug.
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