Simply put, sometimes grown-ups can be pretty mean.
I know I can be a real jerk sometimes and my angry outbursts are usually directed at the people I care the most about.
My poor boyfriend spends more time with me than anyone. This means he gets more fussing, bickering and anxiety-induced rants from me.
We might not pick on each other the way we did when we were in middle and high school, but I know we talk behind each others backs, and we can let all of our frustrations with life be taken out on some innocent cashier, waitress or telemarketer.
For some reason, when life starts to get complicated, it’s easy for us to start getting a little… mean.
I was reminded the other morning about how sweet life and people can be.
I’m sure we can all agree when we were children life was simple. Our biggest concerns were learning our multiplication tables, taking care of our pets and making sure we got as much time playing with our friends as we could.
And, when we were little, we didn’t care where someone came from, what they looked like, how much money they had or what color their skin was. If they were willing to go along with whatever game we were playing and follow the rules, they were OK in our book.
The other day I read a post from one of my Facebook friends about her little boy.
She said every time the Kona Ice truck comes to school her son asks for some money to get a treat at school.
He usually asks for $4, enough to get a large cup of flavored ice.
This time, however, he asked for a little more.
When his mom asked why he needed $8 this time instead of the usual, he told her there was a little girl who sits next to him in class that never gets Kona Ice.
He said if he could get $8 he could buy himself one and his friend one, too.
His mom and the rest of her friends on Facebook were truly touched by his kindness.
I’m sure he didn’t even realize how kind, generous and thoughtful he was being. He simply saw a friend who didn’t get to enjoy the Kona Ice like he did. All he wanted to do was make sure she could get a cup at least once.
When I read the story all I could say was “aw,” and my heart swelled. It made me think of all the times I didn’t act as kind as this child did.
I was also reminded of other times I witnessed children performing amazing acts of kindness.
Every year the CV&T prints Santa letters from the elementary schools. Every child is given the chance to tell Santa their biggest wishes for Christmas.
The staff types hundreds of letters each year. It’s often difficult to read the handwriting and to decipher a few of the misspelled words. But, most of the letters are pretty much the same.
The kids ask for toys, puppies or new clothes. However, sprinkled through the stacks and stacks of Santa letters, there are always a few letters that leave our staff in awe and often in tears.
There are always a few very young children that dedicate their Santa letter to asking for help for other people.
Most of us expect these children to ask for all the toys in the stores and the latest trend in technology. There would be nothing wrong with them using their Santa letter to ask for all the things they’ve ever wanted throughout the year and didn’t get.
There would be no shame or judgement placed on a six-year-old who asked for an MP3 player, a remote control car and a puppy.
But, some of these kids go above and beyond what’s expected of someone their age.
They ask for toys for their little brothers and sisters, or a nice new car for their parents. They ask for a vacation for the whole family and they even ask for miracles.
I will always remember the letter I read from a first grade student telling Santa about his sick grandma who lived in the nursing home. All he wanted for Christmas was for her to get to come home.
If that doesn’t bring tears to someone’s eyes, I don’t know what would.
I prayed that Christmas that his granny got to spend the day with the sweet little boy.
It’s stories like these that make me feel sad and disappointed in myself as a so-called “grown-up.”
Even as a Christian, I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked right past someone with a sign asking for food or money for gas. Most of the time it’s because I’m busy and in a rush. Sometimes it’s because I don’t have cash. Other times, I’ll admit, it’s because of selfishness. I might be on my last $10 before pay day and I choose to keep it for myself rather than share.
That makes me a pretty bad person in some ways. I know it at least makes me not nearly as mature in my giving as these small children.
That makes me feel a little shameful.
My prayer today, as the holidays are approaching, is that my readers and I will reflect on the giving nature of the young children in our community and try to emulate some of their behavior.
I hope the next time I see someone in need, I’ll be reminded of the little boy who shared his money with his classmates or the child who would give back all his Christmas gifts to just have his granny at home with him.
When I asked my Facebook friend if I could share her story, she said of course. She also said, “little boys can be rotten sometimes, but they never cease to have a big heart.”
That’s so true.
Simply put, sometimes grown-ups can be pretty mean.