I took my daughter to our neighbourhood indoor play structure one afternoon. It was still early, so most of the other kids were in school or daycare still. It was sort of nice to have the place to our selves. She ran around, no lines for the slide, no one racing for the side and ending in a head on collision. Though running around alone quickly became boring.
A little boy, if I had to guess, who was about 6 years old, came in with a little plastic bow and arrow. He was shooting it at the tree (in the center of this play structure is a giant fake tree that has racoons and bears in it – it’s really cute). Scarlett immediately was interested in what this little boy was doing. She would run and grab the arrow after he had shot it. At first he was scared she was going to take it, then he realized that she wanted to play. Between Scarlett speaking toddler speak and this little boy not speaking English very well, these two strangers made it work. They played.
Scarlett wanted to play with his toy. Using her manners (proud Mommy moment), Scarlett politely asked if she could try. The little boy looked at me for approval to show her. I nodded. He did everything very slowly. He showed her how to place the arrow on the string and then where to put her hands so the bow wouldn’t keep falling over on her. How to pull the string back and when it let go.
The two strangers did this for about 15 minutes.
He taught her how to shoot his bow and arrow. It was the kindest thing I have ever seen. Ever.
Scarlett let up like a light bulb. She was so proud. The little boy had a little smile on his face by the end of it.
I saw something in two kids that I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Kindness. Pure kindness. You rarely see it in adults. Kindness usually comes with a price tag. But I watched two kids play with a bow and arrow. Teaching each other something new. Helping the other. Kindness.
When did it change? At what point in our lives did we forget about kindness? Friendship without judgment? Kindness without a price tag?
It’s moments like these that reassure me that my husband and I are doing a good job as parents. We are pointing our children in the right direction. We are teaching them the right values.
My daughter reminded me that kindness is free. It doesn’t cost a thing. Hold a door open for someone, compliment someone on the way they dress, or how they handled a situation. Maybe it will be a chain reaction, someone does something nice for one person and then they do something nice for someone else.