Last week as I rode the bus home, an older woman in an electric wheelchair sat near the front reading a novel. A young, Middle-Eastern family came on the bus with their young daughter in a stroller. The father stood in front of the stroller, smiling at his baby girl, while the mother sat in a nearby seat; the woman in the wheel chair opposite him. Only moments into our ride, a sweet sound emerged from the stroller and the woman in the wheelchair errupted into laughter. She smiled at the father and said, "I've never seen a baby do that before. She is so sweet." The father beamed and through his strong accent said, "Yes, thank-you." The baby continued to make cooing sounds and the woman watched and giggled- along with many others on the bus.
How can you not find delight in a child? Babies, especially soften our hearts.
A couple of months ago, I was playing with my 4 year old niece at the park. Some older children rode by on their bikes. She called out, "hey! You guys! I have something to say to you!" They did not hear. So, I asked if they would come over and they did- a little boy and his older sister. My niece bravely said, "Hi. My name is Gracie and I have a bike, too." The children listened and the little boy said, "Oh- what colour is your bike?" Grace said, "My bike is black and red." The little boy responded, "I like black." And that was the end of the conversation- they returned to their activities. Ha! The reason I point this out, is the bravery and lack of hesitation/fear children show when talking to new people. Sure, children can be shy, but often when they are having fun and feeling safe, they aren't wondering what others will think if they ask a question or share an observation. They let someone know that they also have a bike, just because. And I feel like this makes the world a little brighter.
This fall, I am running an afterschool program for children in grades 3-5 in my church neighbourhood. Last week was the first week. During craft time, a little girl painted me beautiful poster and gave it to me- after only knowing me for less than 20 minutes. This is kindness. This a way to take care of others...of caring: to invite others into a conversation, to giggle in public, to share a painting...
I am grateful for the lessons children continue to teach me. I'm sure I'll have more stories to share as time goes on.
What have you learned from the children in your life?