Today, I sat in the back of a kindergarten classroom filled with small people and big anticipation. 25 boys and girls, plus 12 or so parents, were waiting for the teacher to give the command to load ‘em up and head ‘em out! The parents were relegated to the back of the classroom and given mundane tasks to keep them occupied, myself included, while the children sat on the typical kindergarten alphabet rug located at the front of the room. I found myself sorting homework into conveniently alphabetized bins and going from kindergarten classroom to kindergarten classroom to take headcounts. Hey, at least it killed 45 minutes of otherwise Android App Facebook wait time. The children, on the other hand, sat on their rug and sang rhymes and were read to. Since we were going to Storyland at Roeding Park, it was appropriate that the story for the morning was Little Red Riding Hood. As the teacher read through the story with much animation in her face and voice, I realized that I wasn’t sure how the version of the story I had always heard would play out in front of a crowd of 4-6 year olds by way of detailed illustration. Fortunately, there was a kind group of forest creatures, that strung up the wolf in a barn, which caused Red and her G-ma to simply slip out of his gullet. The final pages were then filled with the wolf’s shame and accompanying mockery by the other forest creatures.
Prior to the teacher reading the story, I watched as my youngest son, Domenic, sat at the front of the classroom flanked on all three sides by cute little giggly girls, trying as best he could to pay attention. I had to give him the “Mom Stare” a couple of times, but overall he did well. What I saw next was pretty cool. I hadn’t even noticed, actually no one had noticed, but the girl to his left had her head down on her knees. The thing that had caught my attention was his leaning over to her and softly whispering “Are you crying?” He never brought it to anyone’s attention, but he did seem to cheer her up with whatever he said. Granted she’s one of his little buddies, but, it was really sweet.
In speaking to various Mom’s of his friends over the past few years, I’ve noticed that many of them say that their child speaks of Domenic often. It always surprises me, because he talks of only a few kids often, and some parents have actually used the term “Best Friends” or some other form of the term. I’m sure you think that I’m bragging, and I suppose that I kind of am, but my point is that I love that my son makes people feel important. I believe he really tries to be friends with everyone! Sure, he has some buddies that are his “Best Friends”, but his little life is already impacting others, even if they’re just his classmates.
In a world filled with people who openly dislike other people or who don’t have the time to meet people, I believe that we can take our cue from kids like Domenic. We should have the ability to notice others in need and help, to make the people around us feel important and that we care for them, and not just make them feel important, but treat them in such a way that they know they are important to us. I’m trying to make that adjustment in my life. The truth is that as a Christian, I am called to not just be kind or tolerant of others, but to love them. I can’t do that if I am so wrapped up in my life that I’m not connecting to those around me on a regular basis… and not just on Facebook or Twitter or Google+.
My challenge to you and myself is to find new ways to show the people around us, whether or not we know them or even like them, that we care for them and that they are important. What are your thoughts? Are you already doing this? Share, share, share!!!