I live in a small town in the north of Australia. It's not much and it's only starting to be a little more known because some scenes in the movie "Australia" are being filmed there. However, before the movie and resident of my town would tell you that it's famous for Mindil. For people who don't know, Mindil is referring to the Mindil Beach Markets which are held on Mindil beach every Thursday and Sunday night in the dry season. So that's the basics you need to know. I was down at mindil on Thursday night last week in the last few days of my holidays. It was busy and there was lots going on. I had recently received my 70 smile cards all the way from America. I was excited and ready to paint a smile on the face of Mindil. I went prepared. Bright coloured clothed, rainbow shoelaces and ... Read Full Story >>
I have recently thought about an incredible act of compassion extended to me many years ago.
In fourth grade we were suppose to bring in a dime for a folder to use in class. My parents were divorced and money was in short supply. Watching my mom fend off creditors, I did not have the nerve to ask her for a dime. When I got to school, I really wish I had asked my mother for the dime because everybody else in class had the dime ready on their desk for the teacher. I was embarrassed and felt silly.
Somehow, A girl named Karen, sitting next to me, saw my personal suffering and waited until the last second to put a dime on the corner of my desk. Even though I never said a word, she saw my quiet anguish and only wanted to relieve it. She said nothing and I was too embarrassed to say thank you. It was the most genuine, authentic act of kindness I've ever experienced.
I am a resource officer at a school district. Last year I met one little boy in particular to whom my heart just went out to. He would talk to me every single day, and always seemed to have a smile on his face. He has a problem with stuttering extremely bad when he tries to talk. It's really hard sometimes to understand what he is saying, although he loves to tell you big tales! Well, this morning, I was talking to a couple teachers who were running the school store. He stopped by and said hello to all of us. They told me after he left that he stops every day they are there and asks them if they will be there the next day. But of course, he never has the money to be able to buy anything. I decided I would get him a little something just ... Read Full Story >>
Actually, he started out as my step-dad's best friend since they were 5 and 6 years old, respectively. They grew up in New York City. Howie's home life was not good, very troubled. Still, he grew up to be a fine man, worked hard, married, and had two children. His wife divorced him when the children were small and he kind of drifted through life, working, but no real focus. I was almost 6 when my mother and stepfather met (again) and decided to make a life together. Howie said to my dad, "You are going to live with her (meaning my mother)? She has a kid, the kid will be an anchor and slow you down." Howie would come over our house and eat dinner and spend time there. I guess I kind of grew on him. He taught me how to play checkers and we got along just fine. At ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I decided to teach my son about the power of small acts of kindness. He had won some lollies in a prize machine in the local supermarket, so I asked him if he would like to share his win with the next child that walks past. He was hesitant because he is a shy young man but said yes after I encouraged him a bit. A father and his child were nearby. I approached the father and asked if my son could give his daughter a lolly that he had won. The father looked at me sideways and was unsure what to say. I further explained how I was coaching my son about the power of kindness. Eventually he said it was okay. We approached his daughter ... who wouldn’t accept the lollies! She too was looking at us sideways with uncertainty! At this stage my son was rather ... Read Full Story >>
Last Christmas I was given a great gift.As I checked out at a local Walgreen's pharmacy, the teen cashier asked me, "Are you Mrs. Peres?" With a curious smile, I replied, "Yes." Then he asked me, "Do you remember me?" Being the joker I am, I looked at his tag and replied, "You're Josh." This young man's face brightened up with such a smile that I had to tell him the truth -- I did not remember him.
He continued to tell me that when he was about 5 years old he would sit with my daughter on the school bus. With a pause, he added, "You were the only person that waved at me each and everyday."
The minute he said that my heart sank and filled at the same time.
At first, I felt so very sad and wondered if his childhood was not a good one that a simple wave made his day. Then I filled with tears at the thought that that simple wave made him feel good and stayed with him all this time.
I was sooooo happy to be me at that moment and it was truly the best gift I received last year.
While we were riding the old German bus in Tirana (Albania), a gypsy girl entered. Seven years old. Most gypsy kids have a 'dead' look in their eyes. Hardened by the world, by what they have experienced. The Albanian gypsies live in slums, their children beg on the streets so that the parents can afford to buy alcohol and continue their addiction. Girls as young as twelve wash car windows at the stoplight, holding a baby with their other arm. Little kids lay down on the sidewalks of Tirana to catch some sleep and rest their dirty limbs. Everytime we saw this hardened 'dead' look in their eyes. But not this girl. She was radiant. A beautiful smile across her face, sparkling eyes. She just stood there, in between me and my two friends. Flip flops, black t-shirt, short messy brown hair which matched her tomboy personality. A joyful presence. She ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I had been sitting in a parking line for more than 10 minutes trying to get into a local fair when, I discovered I was in the wrong lane, and nearly to the gate! My husband waved to the van next to us. The woman driving, who I could see had several children with her, seamed happy to let us pull in front her after we asked if we may. I was so excited to not have to ‘go around and wait' again, I decided to pay for her parking.
After paying, we parked, and entered the fair, not giving it another thought. Until, 20 some minutes later, when a small horde of people approached us to profusely thank us for our generosity.
Apparently they had been looking for us, just to thank us, and for such a small gesture. It choked me up quite a bit; after all, she was the one who had started the ‘generosity’.
That touching event has stayed with me all this time. To this day, it still amazes and thrills me that a tiny gesture could cause a ‘cascade’ of warmth and unselfish kindness.
If this is the result of a small gesture, what might a ‘medium’ gesture initiate?
As the little girl and her father were crossing a bridge, the father was a bit scared. So he turns to his little daughter and says, "Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river."
To which the little girl replied, "No, Dad. You hold my hand."
"What's the difference?" asked the puzzled father.
"There's a big difference," said the little girl. "If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go."
In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours.
This week-end my husband and I are leaving on vacation to North Carolina ... As you well know, planning is essential including cleaning out the refrigerator of food that will go bad.
Yesterday morning, my daughter calls to check -in and mentioned she was going to McDonald's to get a breakfast burrito. I told her I had the items to make that in my refrigerator and I could make it for her. She said her daughter (my grandaughter) wanted pancakes. I said I had that too!
I invited my other daughter and her 3 girls as we ''cleaned'' out the refrigerator and it didn't cost them anything, plus I have less work to do! It was fun and everybody got their bellies full of burritoes, pancakes, sausage and fruit!
Plus I made it with LOVE! You can't get THAT at McDonalds!
One day, a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much," were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class ... Read Full Story >>
It was a very hot, late August day when I took my 8 year old grand daughter out to lunch at a beautiful, fancy restaurant, because she enjoyed feeling like a princess.
As we sat out on the lovely deck with many other diners around us, she reached out to point to the flowers on the table and accidentally tipped my ice water glass into my lap.
She gasped, her eyes grew large, the people at the next table peered to see my reaction. I simply smiled and said, "Oh, that is so refreshing."
We can make a split second decision to have a different-than-expected reaction to happenings that, in their smallness, make the world a better place and teach our children at the same time.
[ Note: This story below was written by Nancy Gavin and originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. You can watch a video of this story here.] It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, I was shopping for groceries at the local store. The specialty of the store is free stands where customers are given samples of new products.
Being an ice-cream lover, I gravitated towards the free ice-cream stand and the clerk in-charge gave me a big smile saying "You are lucky! This is really popular and this is the last cone I have to give away!"
I was happy too, until I turned around to see a toddler craning her neck up to see my cone with one hand pulling her Mom's dress. Disappointment was written all over her face. Apparently, Mom had just explained the idea called 'no more' to her.
I knelt down, extended the cone and asked if she'd like to have it. Four faces lit up all at-once! And that tasted better than ice-cream :)
It was five in the morning. The room smelt weird. I saw him, next to me, deep in slumber. I went up to the bathroom and got my answer to the stench. He had had a few extra drinks last night, must have puked all over the wash basin. The basin was clogged and the stench inside was unbearable. A little angry I came back in the room with half a mind to wake him up and ask him to clean up. I could hear his soft snores and knew that he needs that sleep to be normal the next morning. This happened when we were vacationing in Dubai during Diwali holidays. I called up the reception and in an embarrassed tone explained my problem. It was a five star property and the receptionist promised to send someone over within a minute. Before hanging up, I requested him to send ... Read Full Story >>
A prayer wheel, or mani wheel, is a wheel filled with innumerable mantras and inscriptions wrapped clockwise around a central axis. Some prayer wheels are tiny, like tops; others are huge, filling an entire room, and one turns the wheel by holding its handles and walking clockwise around it. Others are attached to running streams or waterfalls so that they can harness the natural energy and spread benedictions throughout the land. The faithful believe that spinning these prayer wheels or hanging prayer flags in the wind actualizes the inscribed prayers. The Tibetan province of Kham is akin to America’s Wild West. The people of Kham are great equestrians, and like all who ride regularly, they love their horses. Until about a century ago, Kham was carved into dozens of smaller kingdoms, each of which had its own army, raised by forcible conscription. There was once an old man in far eastern Kham ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!" Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!" Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?" As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great ... Read Full Story >>
Nearly 6 years ago, a little boy was brought to me to look after in my day care. He was a mere two days old. After being with me for some 3 months, we realized that the "Mother" has disappeared, leaving this helpless little boy.
I could not get it over my heart to leave this child to his own defenses and decided to adopt him. We come from different backgrounds and cultures, but I was will to endure everything in order to love this child unconditionally.
I adopted him and am proud to say that he is today a real blessing in my life!
This is a true story written from a child's perspective by my dear, 68 year old mother, a post war/depression child living in Newfoundland, Canada at the time this happened! She will be reading this to the children and congregation at her church over the Christmas season. ---- Every year at this time I remember a Christmas when I was 8 years old. It is the one memory of Christmas that has stayed with me all my life. My children always loved hearing it. I grew up in a small community in Newfoundland, with the sea right at our door. My father was a sea captain and was away from home most of the year, but he was always home for Christmas. I remember the excitement bubbling up inside me -- it would soon be Christmas and Dad would be home for at least 3 months. I don't know which excited me most. Everything would ... Read Full Story >>
I recently received a message via Facebook:
"You won't remember me... I went to Sutton public, grades 4 & 5. You gave me a drawing of yours of one of the California Raisins. Anyway, I had moved around a lot growing up, ie. I was usually the odd kid out. What you did, was something really nice that I always remembered. Thanks."
Wow. I felt so warm and fuzzy inside when I read that and was so so satisfied to know that my simple random act of kindness was carried throughout this boy's life. (By the way, I didn't remember him but I surely remember the drawing!)
Children are so incredibly kindhearted but it often goes unnoticed because they have no egotistical need to have it noticed. Kids rock!
And I'm very very glad that he chose to contact me and tell me about it. It's inspiring to hear it after all these years!
It feels like a "hug a stranger" day today. :) Thanks for letting me share!
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 >>