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 >>
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However,he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in humanity grew stronger as well. He had been ready to give up ... Read Full Story >>
For my daughter's 19th birthday in December, we bought her tickets to go and see Linkin Park, as they were playing in our city in the UK. We didn't really have the money but we knew how much this band meant to her, and she'd seen them years earlier with her Dad. The night before she was like a kid at Christmas, all pink cheeked, shiny eyed and giddy with aniticipation. Every so often she got up and came to sit with us, because she couldn't sleep. On the night of the concert it was good to see her so happy and excited, as she and her boyfriend set off. Needless to say when they returned after midnight , with t-shirts, a programme and lots of video and pictures of the band, listening to her gushing about how fantastic they had been, we knew that the money had been well spent. This will ... Read Full Story >>
My son is 4 years old and Christmas is a very magical time for children.
My son ran down the stairs very excited as most children are on Christmas morning and went straight for the gifts under the tree. But, to my surprise, the first gift he grabbed was a gift he made for his father and me.
He stood there with anticipation, joy and patience as we opened our gift waiting to see the expression on ours faces. As I opened the gift, which was a hand-made wreath made of his small handprints (which is one of the best gift I received), I started to cry. My husband leaned over and asked why I was crying.
I said I could not believe the thoughtfulness of this child and with all the gifts under the tree with his name on them, he was most excited about giving us the present he had made for us. As a parent, I felt so proud of the child I am raising, knowing that he values other people and how they feel.
That is actually the best gift I received for Christmas.
I frequently flip through Craigslist just because I find human nature to be absolutely fascinating. Well, one day I found a post from a teacher looking for help. She taught at a grade school in Oregon, and each classroom got to pick a university to learn about, as a way to encourage the kids to go to college some day. It was a rural school in a poorer area, and evidently a lot of kids didn’t stay on track, so this was an important project to the teacher. Her first graders had picked my alma mater, the University of Michigan, as their university of choice for the project, and she was asking for volunteers to send Michigan spirit wear for her students. I wanted to send something because I thought it was a really cool idea. Education is one of the causes that I am looking to get more involved ... Read Full Story >>
August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated. 'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.' I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, then asked my age. 'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood. My mother was motioned to ... Read Full Story >>
While shopping at my local Walmart I noticed a young girl ahead of me. She had with her what looked like a newborn infant in the cart along with diapers, formula, and other food items. This young mother wasn't the average mom shopping at Walmart. The pierced nose and tongue might have discouraged others from helping her. The cashier rung up her items and the girl gave the cashier her credit card. The credit card was declined and the girl looked at the cashier embarassed and horrified. The cashier gave the girl the option of keeping her items in the cart while the girl went to get the necessary money. I wasn't sure if this was the person I was supposed to help, after all there seemed to be a lot of stuff in her cart, and I am a single parent myself. The girl left, supposedly to go get ... Read Full Story >>
When I was about four or five, I was walking down the street with my Mum one day. Ahead of us, an elderly lady was walking slowly when suddenly she tripped and fell off the curb and couldn't get up. My Mum made a call to an ambulance to come help her and we waited with the old lady until they arrived. She thanked my Mum and we continued walking. I turned to my mother and asked, "Will that lady be on the news? Will you be on the news for helping her?" My Mum explained to me that people fell down a lot and that it wasn't the sort of thing that appears on the news. She also explained that no one from the news was there to see it. She asked me if I understood, and I said yes, but I didn't! That night I remeber watching the news and all I saw was a man-in-a-suit talking. I asked my Mum,"Is this man more ... Read Full Story >>
I'm just a senior in high school who works for minimum wage at a local Baskin Robbins. In and outside of work, I always wear a smile and try to influence my amiable attitude towards others. But lately, I've been inspired by the stories here to reach out in kindness in other ways beyond just acting friendly. So, today, when I went to work, I decided I would take my first big step and truly help a complete stranger. Two young girls came into the store and looked around. I offered them my usual "Welcome to Baskin Robbins!" greeting. It was a couple of minutes later when one of them finally decided upon a flavor, chocolate chip. So then, I made a big scoop and put it upon a cone and handed it to her. Interestingly, though, the other girl didn't get anything even though I could tell she was eyeballing the variety of creams. So, I ... Read Full Story >>
Once upon a time, a long time ago there lived two very happy people called Tim and Maggi with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days. You see, in those happy days everyone was given, at birth, a small soft Fuzzy Bag. Anytime a person reached into this bag he was able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever somebody was given a Warm Fuzzy it made him feel warm and fuzzy all over. People who didn't get Warm Fuzzies regularly were in danger of developing a sickness in their backs which caused them to shrivel up and die. In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up ... Read Full Story >>
The late evening train from Glasgow was battling the worst of the winter weather and the driver was proceeding more on hope than anything. Weeks of rain had meant the line might or might not be flooded - and he wouldn't know until he got there! Well, it was flooded. So he backed up to the nearest station where we sat and waited for about half an hour with no one knowing what was going on. I didn't mind. I wasn't going home to anyone, I had music to listen to and it wouldn't be the first night I had slept on a train. But not everyone would be in that position. Then the lights went out. Still there was no announcement. We sat another half an hour then the driver announced he was taking the train back to Glasgow and anyone who didn't want to come with it should get out now. ... Read Full Story >>
My son Wynn has autism. As a result, his social skills are stunted. Neverless, he still longs for friendship and human kinship even though he rarely knows how to properly initiate conversations. When he was 7 or 8, he went through a phase where he would approach strangers with survey-type questions such as: "Excuse me, Sir. Are you married or are you happy?" or "Excuse me, Lady. Have you always been so old?" or, my personal favorite, "Excuse me, Girl. How did you grow up to be a fat woman?" As you can imagine, he didn't make many friends for either one of us, and I spent a lot of time apologizing and feeling embarrassed (though I have to say, his questions were actually quite relevant). When Wynn was 10, he entered the phase of being totally enamored with men who had facial hair. In his attempt to interact with his subject of interest, he would approach each ... Read Full Story >>
A month ago, I stepped through the revolving door into my physician's office, feeling both afraid of being there because of what I could find out about my health, but also knowing that I would feel afraid if I didn't come there precisely to find out. So, I felt stuck. As I scurried over to a wooden chair with a plush cushion and a Home & Garden magazine lying on top of it, I noticed there were many other patients who were carefully seated on the chairs surrounding me with frightened faces buried in magazines. Amidst, these nervous readers, I spotted a little two-year old girl who was propped up on one of these seats with her short little legs sticking horizontally out into the air. Just a moment after I sat down, I heard this little doll-like child's voice as she suddenly and fearlessly, began to sing. She was making up her own song. It was something about Santa Claus. Everyone was listening but I don't think she even was aware of how all of ... Read Full Story >>
Just after his first birthday my son Cameron was struck down with a rare blood illness. In the following years he has needed four courses of chemotherapy, multiple blood and platelet transfusions, harsh immunosuppressive treatments, suffered a thrombosis in his leg and over 800 hospital visits, including stays of up to 3 weeks at a time. All this has led to him now also being an insulin dependent diabetic. Cameron is now 9 years old and raised over £71,000 to support other sick children. He has equipped his beloved children's hospital with books, televisions, game consoles, arts and crafts items, toys and games. To the hospital school that taught him how to tell the time, he also gave laptops so the most poorly children could work in their beds, along with a music station, a libary, paints and crayons. A couple of years ago he found out that his hospital was closing and a new one was being built. ... Read Full Story >>
Last Sunday I visited my parents as I do every Sunday. My 84 year old Dad seemed unusually worried, so I asked him if anything was the matter. He silently gave me a letter from his motor insurance company to read. In two sentences they informed him that they would no longer be able to insure his small truck and that he can call the undersigned for further clarification. I told him not to worry and that I would take care of the matter. The next day I called the undersigned to get clarification. To sum it up, it did not matter to the insurance company that my Dad spent 50 years paying the premium, but what mattered was that in his first accident (last August) the company had to fork out € 8,942. From then on for three days I visited or phoned almost every broker or insurance company to try and ... Read Full Story >>
I thought it was rather odd when my friend from the nursing home asked me to motor her wheelchair through the puddles that formed from the melting snow. I didn't really get it, but I went along with it. We were out on one of our walks or what I like to call one of our"weekly strolls" because I stand and she rolls. Adhering to my friend's peculiar request, we were off on our watery wheelchair adventure! We splashed through each puddle together and came out of each experience, slightly damp and smiling. In fact, after a few puddle excursions, even I started looking out for larger and more daunting puddles to sail through until one day we were out on our stroll, and to our dismay, no puddles were to be found. They had all dried up. Keen on keeping our strolling adventure alive, we discovered something new that awaited us. As we headed down the residential street, there was a small pile of leaves. My friend asked me to roll her through ... Read Full Story >>
My son’s kindergarten class did a performance yesterday for the parents and rest of the school. It was great but one particular thing made me think a little more about life in general. I was in the back videotaping it since my wife could not attend. About 10 minutes into the program, I could see the change at the exact moment my son saw that I was there. He was doing great and being a wonderful participant before that moment, but I could tell how seeing me there made such a difference and meant so much to him. His smile, wave, and frequent “thumbs up” directed to me, made me laugh as I was able to relive them over and over later. It made me think. Sometimes just letting someone know you are there for them can make all the difference. They may not call on you or ask anything of ... Read Full Story >>
I had a dream. A genie appeared and offered me one wish. I begged: “I want happiness.” The genie answered: "Happiness? You can't give someone happiness. What is happiness for one person is different for someone else. It is relative. I cannot give you happiness, but I can give you what will make you happy. What will make you happy?” the genie asks. I examined my life and found that the most ecstatic moments of joy, bliss and happiness were when I was helping people. My happiness came from serving others. So, I said, “Genie, let my life be one of serving people." And so it has come to pass. I became a physician to provide medical care to indigenous peoples worldwide in war and in peace. I held the hands of hopeless people in warring Rwanda, dared to care for the desperate in Angola and the traumatized in the trenches of ... Read Full Story >>
Today my son and I drove to a town just over from our own. We had errands to run there. He wanted to buy a game for all the hard work he put in this year in school. He was diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder but still managed to be on the A/B Honor Roll for half the school year. We are so incredibly proud of him! This child of mine has the most loving heart. Off we went to the mall. We got lunch in the food court and just enjoyed talking to each other. He looked over and saw a young man in an Army uniform. He asked me if he could give him a smile card. We had made our own. All they say is "Smile... Pay it forward." So he marched right up to that young man and said, "Thank you!" and handed him the ... Read Full Story >>
Anonymous giving and acts of kindness can lead the giver to a very lonely place in the universe. Like the Lone Ranger or some other disguised hero, we do kind things all the time and so often the people on the receiving end don’t see it or don’t recognize it. Living a life of altruism, in its most ideal form, means setting the ego aside and not doing what we do for credit. Usually, I have no problem with this at all. But there are those days, perhaps when I’m feeling a little weak or drained, where I find myself feeling lonely with it all, feeling like I’m giving, giving, giving, to a world that is in super receiving mode and asleep to what’s being done for them. I get a little discouraged. Even idealized heroes had their inner circle of friends who knew who they really were and what their life ... Read Full Story >>
Since I have come to any kind of spiritual maturity I have believed we get out of this world what we put into it (... and then some!) Usually, the rewards are indirect and sometimes hard to recognise, but every once in a while what you give comes back to you there and then! A couple of days back my step-son, Josh, was preparing for a big event. Children from his primary school were going for their first trial day at the secondary school, so they would know what to expect when they started after the summer holidays. A big day for an eleven year old lad! I was in the middle of some stuff when I noticed him searching in a clay pot where we keep pens and pencils. In primary school they use pencils, but secondary kids get to write with pens. And Josh was looking for a pen. He came out with ... Read Full Story >>