At my son's school, the traffic is so hectic, they have a traffic director to help the parents get in and out of the school parking area safely.
Last week, I noticed how hot is was outside when I went to pick up my son. The traffic director was sweating!! It just so happened that I had packed an extra bottle of cold water before going to pick up my son.
As I handed the bottle of water out of the window to the traffic director (along with a smile card of course), the look on her face was absolutely priceless!! I kept looking back in my rear view mirror as I drove away, and as long as I could see her, she was still smiling! : )
There is an elderly man who lives up the street from us. He has no one to shovel his driveway. He is a bit of a miser so most people aren't so inclined to help. One day, I don't know who did it, but someone used the sticky snow on his driveway to make a whole bunch of snowmen on his lawn facing his front window. They were all smiling and waving and his driveway got cleared in the making of them. As my son and I were walking by, I could hear him grumbling under his breath. "What's the problem?" I asked him. He complained that someone had trespassed on his lawn and made a bunch of snowmen. My son, not knowing what trespass meant, assumed this was a good thing. He said "Wow, sir, that's the biggest bestest present I've ever seen!!" Innocently, he then turned to me asked, ... Read Full Story >>
I was with my kids at the grocery store. They are 3 and 5.
We were doing our grocery shopping, when we saw a 75-80 year old lady in one of those motorized scooters, doing her shopping. We saw that she was unable to reach something, so I reached it for her and she said, "Thank you."
The old lady also mentioned there were other things she was unable to get because she was confined to her scooter. So my 5 year old son spontaneously tells her, "Oh, we can help you get the rest of your groceries."
And we did. We went through the whole store with her, until she had all that she needed. When we finished, the woman blessed us and told me that it was nice to see that little ones still have manners.
As we finished our own grocery shopping, I felt so very proud to know my children will not be selfish people.
After my son's soccer game, he ran over to me and said, "Mom, do you have a smile card?" I said, "I think so." He is telling me to hurry up. We run to my purse and start digging through the million and one pockets and pouches. At last, I found one.
"What do you need it for?" I asked him.
He responds, "It is for Dad. I did not want my cookie and I know how he loves sugar. So, I quietly put it in his pocket while he was talking and now I want to add a smile card!"
His action and request melted my heart and filled me with joy. Not to mention his Dad, who was brimming with joy as he bite into his warm chocolate chip cookie!
This will bring a whole new level of tagging to our household. Secret Spy Operatives are now on the move! Stay tuned for more. :)
Last week I was visiting my best friend in Cincinnati. One morning as we walked to breakfast, I spotted a piece of paper on the street and it turned out to be a $10 bill! I was determined to use it as a special treat and carried it around for two days as we brainstormed ways to spend it. Since we are both huge fans of Dairy Queen, we decided to head there after dinner on my last day in town. His blizzard and my sundae came to $5, so when the employee handed me $5 bill as change, I turned around to the lady (and her son) behind me and said, "Here, this is for you!" Seeing her startled reaction, I told her, "I found $10 the other day and since we've already received our treat, you guys should enjoy the rest!" She was very gracious and took the money and ... Read Full Story >>
When I dropped my 3 1/2 year old daughter off at day care yesterday, one of her friends was sitting at a table alone crying. She sometimes gets upset when her mom leaves. My daughter plays with her and they are good friends. When we were sitting down and saw the little girl crying, I asked my daughter if she might want to go and sit by her sad friend. She said "Yes, I don't want her to be sad", scooped up her breakfast and went and sat by her friend. I watched her share her cereal and talk to the little girl. As I walked to my car I was very happy to see that my little girl has a kind heart. When I got home last night, I asked her how her day was. She said it was good and that her friend wasn't sad anymore. She was proud to have ... Read Full Story >>
Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me when my father died, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When Mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell to me, the twenty-seven-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it as an honor. “What now, Lord?” I asked, sitting in the church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face ... Read Full Story >>
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?' The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. 'I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.' Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay ... Read Full Story >>
During dinner, we had a 'small talk conversation' when we asked our 4-year-old Lola: "Lola, who do you love the most? Mum, Dad, or someone else?"
She promptly replied, "I don't want to make a choice. I love everybody! Sometimes people do things I do not like, but I like them still."
I'm usually the one to respond very quickly, but I was speechless after this major lesson.
Sometimes there is a great teacher, an avatar, very near me but when I'm not really paying attention, I miss the opportunity for a very precious lesson.
It is so often true that "what goes around, comes around," and that life lessons often walk in through the most unexpected doors. One hot summer, several years ago, my son and I were taking a trip by train. But first we had to take a bus into the city to the station to catch the train. I was a single Mom and as usual, since times were hard and money was very tight, we simply could not afford any extras. So we packed a large lunch bag of snacks and sandwiches, and had a small cooler filled with sodas to get us through the trip. We were still many miles from the train station, out in the middle of nowhere, when the bus suddenly completely broke down. The poor driver was mortified, and after calling ahead to the station, assured us, apologizing over and over, that they were sending another bus to rescue us. We ... Read Full Story >>
My son is my world and I love everything about him. When he was 3, he was diagnosed with a terminal brain-stem tumor. Doctors gave him a 50% chance of surviving the first year and 10% in the second year. I am proud to say that it has been a little over two years now since then. About a month ago, though, we were told that his tumor was active again and that we really dont know what going to happen from day to day. It's tough on us. But the saving grace has been the unexpected kindness of so many wonderful strangers who comfort and give words of advice. No one claims to have a cure for the pain and sorrow you feel when dealing with the loss of a child, but many people offer their warmth that helps us heal. In particular, there is this one nurse who has ... Read Full Story >>
Last night’s mass transformed my life. Since we arrived late for the homily, we positioned ourselves near the door. It was during the offertory, though, that I saw a sight that changed my life in an instant -- a young boy ran up, took out a coin from his pocket and offered it to the collector. I didn’t see the denomination, if it was a peso or five-peso, but it wasn't the amount that caught my attention. It was his way of giving gratitude to God for all the immeasurable blessings that he might've received. And it was from a kid who was humbly selling Sampaguita flowers! He who has little knows how to give back. Watching his selfless act, I was totally speechless. Minutes passed and I was still trying to process what I had just witnessed. Before me was a humbling experience -- a boy of young age, ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday my son, daughter and I went to the grocery store. Ahead of us in line was a little girl with her mother. The little girl was asking her mother for a box of Smarties. She was asking very politely and you could see it almost broke the mother's heart when she said, "I'm sorry, Honey, but we just can't afford it." My son was watching that dialogue. Incidentally, he had been raking leaves in our yard to raise himself some money to buy a treat. As he watched the mother and daughter leave the store, he ran to the candy counter and grabbed a box of Smarties. (It turns out that I had also grabbed one pack). My son proudly placed the Smarties on the conveyor belt, pulled out his money and bought the Smarties. He turned to look at me and I just nodded. Out he ran after the ... Read Full Story >>
As I was waiting for the bus, I saw a shuttle rickshaw and decided to hope in. Inside, I found a mother sitting with her daughter. The little girl was absolutely precious -- all dressed up in a new outfit, her hair done, new shoes and a purse on her lap. I began talking to the little girl. They were headed to her aunt's house to celebrate the holiday. She happily pointed out her school on route and told me about her shoes that squeak when she walks. Her enthusiasm and smile were absolutely heartwarming. While conversing, I noticed something unusual. The driver wasn't stopping at the bus stops en route to pick up more passengers. In my mind, I began to think if this trip was going to cost more than the bus fare. "Maybe I should have asked how much it was going to be before I jumped in," ... Read Full Story >>
When I was thirteen years old, I had an enemy. Not a wanted enemy, mind you, but an evil one!
His name was Fred, and boy, was he mean. He took advantage of all my short-comings. My mother passed away when I was ten, and he wouldn't even let up about that!
One day, he and a few of his friends dumped mustard all over my new shirt which I'd begged my aunt for hours to let me have.
A few weeks before school was out, Fred stopped coming to school. Curious, I asked around only to discover that his mother had passed away the week before.
I felt terrible for him! Mind you, he had never been a sweetheart or anything, but I knew how terrible it was to lose a parent as a kid.
I checked the school directory for his address and mailed him a long, anonymous letter about how I coped with losing my mom, and things I'd learned from it. And mostly, I told him how sorry I was for his loss.
A few weeks later, when he returned to school, he still made fun of me, but I felt much better about the situation. My letter hadn't changed him, but I think it changed me!
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When ... Read Full Story >>
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, 'Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.' I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead 'I will come next Tuesday', I promised a little reluctantly on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren. 'Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!' My daughter smiled calmly and said, 'We drive in this all the time, Mother.' 'Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, ... Read Full Story >>
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea. "Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. I'm building," she said. "I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring. "Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand." That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. "That's a joy," the child said. "It's a what?" "It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. ... Read Full Story >>
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 9, my sister, two other friends and I used to go to local nursing homes to sing for the elderly on Sunday afternoons.
One Sunday we went to see the elderly and a little lady was having her 102nd birthday party.
The staff told us we had to leave because of the party. The lady immediately said, "Oh no. They are here to entertain my guests." I'll never forget how important I felt that day -- entertaining her and her guests on her special day.
A few months later she passed away. Bless her heart for including us in such a glorious time.
When we had finished singing that day, she insisted we have a big piece of cake and punch. Then she gathered us each in her arms and hugged us. I think that might have been the best hug I've ever had. We were there to make her feel good but she made me feel good too. I'll never forget that bright sparkle in her eyes when she called us her singing angels.
My grandparents, Gene and Opal Howard, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Our whole family was struggling with what to get them. They both had asked for only cards and no gifts -- they had everything already and just wanted to be with friends and family. Still everyone wanted to put money or get something for them. I couldn't give money but wanted to do something special for them to let them know how proud I am of having them as my grandparents. So, I went to my Aunt, who they live with, and asked her to please give me all the old pictures of them that she could find. Then, with the help of my best friend, I put together a hand-made scrapbook for them, which was filled with lots of fond memories. When I gave them their scrapbook at the open house, I told them I knew they ... Read Full Story >>
On Fridays, my son's kindergarten class has "prize day" when all the children who have maintained good behavior throughout the week get to choose a prize to keep as a reward. The children have behavior cards, which start out green every morning but are changed from green to yellow, orange and finally to red as their behavior declines. The vast majority of these chidren never change their cards from green. As school is dismissed, I am amazed to see the kids streaming out of the front door smiling ear-to-ear holding some inexpensive trinket like it was a gold medal. On many Fridays, there is one boy, who I'll refer to as "Tommy," who often walks out with an unsmiling face because he has had a difficult day or two that week. From day one "Tommy" would be the first name the children would mention to their parents: "Tommy had a ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I was shopping with my four-year-old son, Jacob. We had been in the store quite a while, so his patience was already wearing thin when I mentioned that I had forgotten to get soup. As I turned the cart around and headed down the soup aisle we saw the biggest, baldest, most bewildered looking biker dude staring at the cans. I thought he might be threatening them to jump into his basket! Like most children his age, Jacob is still learning to not shout out his observations about people in public. As we approached the man, Jacob yelled, "He rides a motorcycle, I bet! Do you think he looks mean?" I was mortified, but the biker smiled and won Jacob over with a high five. The biker sheepishly asked if I could help him out. There was a single mom with small children who lived next door ... Read Full Story >>
About a year ago, I was packing to move myself and my son in with my fiance and his daughter. My son was finally weaning off baby foods, so as I was packing up the kitchen things, I packed up his old baby food. My step-daughter came into the kitchen to see what I was doing. When she saw me packing up her little brother's food, she squealed! Why was I taking away all his food???!!! I laughed and told her that her little brother was big enough now to eat big people food, just like she does. I then told her that I was going to give all his jars of baby food to the shelter up the street. I explained that some people don't have jobs, clothes, food or houses and that she and her brother were very lucky that her Daddy and I make enough money to give them ... Read Full Story >>
This past Christmas is the first one ever that I feared we may not be able to bring Santa to our little ones who are 5 and 3. I tried not to get down or focus too negatively on it; I have a deep knowing that things always work out somehow and I also did not want to perpetuate a feeling of "lack" in our lives. In late November, a memo came home from my son's school requesting anyone who felt they needed help with Christmas. People who had children under 12 were asked to call the phone number at a local outreach center. So, almost reluctantly, I called and was told to come to a local church the following day. I had to bring my daughter with me and I was feeling rather sheepish and a bit sorrowful. The happy folks, all volunteers filling monthly supplies for a needy food pantry, were smiling and welcoming. An elderly man gave ... Read Full Story >>
My seven-year old son had been given a gift of "creating stained glass kit" decorative pieces and enthusiastically went to work making beautiful color combinations that could be hung on a glass window. The kit had 4 different pieces to complete and two of them got ruined in the process. But the other two were real "masterpieces" of kid artwork and he was very thrilled to see them hanging on our window. The pieces remained there for some months and then one day my son's piano teacher came to our house (which was not usual) to give him a lesson and he casually admired the stained glass. As soon as his lesson was done, my son ran out of the room, wrapped up the stained glass piece and presented it proudly to his teacher! A few months after that we had a friend visiting from out of town and she too admired ... Read Full Story >>
My friend had mentioned the other day that her father had a lot of children's toys that he was looking to give away. She knew that i have a three-year-old daughter so she thought of me first. I told her I would love it if I could get some nice things for my daughter, which I wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford. When I met her father, he began to explain that he was poor once too and that he would hate to throw away things that can be very useful. At first, he thought of taking everything to the Salvation Army but then he decided to see if anyone he knew could use these things first. Before he showed me what he was giving away, I thought the toys would be mostly lego's or lincoln log's or things like that. When he was showing me around I saw a bed, a slide, a kitchen set and many other things that just ... Read Full Story >>
While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground. "That's my son over there," she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide. "He's a fine looking boy" the man said. "That's my son on the swing in the blue sweater." Then, looking at his watch, he called to his son. "What do you say we go, Todd?" Todd pleaded, "Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes." The man nodded and Todd continued to swing to his heart's content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his son. "Time to go now?" Again Todd pleaded, "Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes." The man smiled and said, "O.K." "My, you certainly are a patient father," the woman responded. The man smiled and then said, "My older son Tommy ... Read Full Story >>
Let me tell you another story. It’s not a mythic story; it refers to a real event, which I attach great importance to, which was told to me when I was teaching a class at a business school in Mexico. I was teaching a class in business ethics, and we were dealing with the question, What is a good human being? Can you be a successful businessman and also be a morally good man or woman at the same time, or do these two goals work against each other? Or to what extent do they coincide and to what extent do they oppose each other? It’s a very interesting question, and a very central question for our society now in all kinds of ways. At a certain point during the discussion, one of the students -- a young man of about thirty -- described an event that took place at Christmas. ... Read Full Story >>