I’ve gotten so cynical that, these days, I roll my eyes when I see a “random” act of kindness that just so happens to be caught on camera. I usually add a face-palm if there’s a celebrity involved.
And then I see kindness that steals my heart and reminds me that there is goodness in the world, just for the sake of goodness.
I volunteer at my daughter’s elementary school sometimes, and as I was walking through the hallway, I could see children on the playground outside. I heard a bell, the signal for the children to come in for lunch. Instinctively, one hundred hungry second graders ran for the same door, all jockeying to be at the front of the line.
Through the large window, I saw a little boy trip and fall to his hands and knees. He didn’t look particularly embarrassed by his fall, but I could tell he’d probably skinned his knees and palms on the concrete sidewalk. Crocodile tears formed in his eyes, but he was being brave.
I could only watch his dismay from the other side of the glass…I couldn’t get there fast enough to help him myself. But a little girl came up behind him. I read her lips as she asked if he was okay. When he nodded, she helped him to his feet, hugged an arm around his shoulders, and walked with him, instead of running with the other children, to the end of the line.
I would be proud of any child who helped her classmate get up, but that day on the elementary school playground, that little girl was my little girl. My Sarah.
We try to teach our kids to be kind and considerate to others. We hope the lesson sinks in, but most of us never get to see the real-life application of our children’s kindness. That day, I saw my daughter reach out to someone, and I’m so grateful for that glimpse of her sweet soul.
She didn’t know I was watching—she didn’t know anyone was watching. And she helped that little boy up anyway. That small act gave me hope, and I remember it often. It bubbles up in my heart when I start to feel frustrated with the state of the world, the lack of manners and common courtesy around me.
In my mind, I see my daughter stoop to help someone else, and I’m reminded that there is good in the world. It isn’t a showy photo opp. We don’t have to have a million social media shares to validate it. It’s quiet kindness, the best kind.