“I guess you never know what kind of influence you’ll be until a child observes you doing yourself what you have tried to teach him to do.”(from an excerpt of a young mother quoted by Pres. Thomas S. Monson in 1999)
Last week I wrote a post entitled Our Choices lead to Blessings. I ended with this thought:
“I hope that this week we can all look for ways to reach out and help those around us. Even if it is just one extra kind word-one more kind act than you do anyway. Or maybe it’s to actually give yourself CREDIT for being kind and loving. Too often we don’t allow ourselves to feel like we are good. You are GOOD. You are KIND. You can SHARE the GOOD.”
So I have to tell you a story, not to brag, but to tell you about JOY!
Last Saturday, I was feeling too tired to make dinner because I did so many other things that day in prep for Mother’s day and just normal mom stuff. So, I’m in line at the local CHEAP pizza place(we are on a tight budget!), when I noticed two young children standing by a pinball machine-but the balls were bouncy balls that you could pay a quarter and get it after playing the game. I was instantly flooded with memories of my kids when they were younger. I remember once I did dig into my purse and give them a few quarters. They were SO happy and full of JOY! Which in-turn filled me with JOY.
I glanced around to see if I could spot a parent keeping an eye on them. Sure enough, mom was buying the pizza and dad kept glancing back at them. To me, they looked a little down on their luck. The children’s parents looked a bit stressed. So, I had a thought, maybe I have a quarter-I’m sure their parents don’t have one. I was ex-static when I looked and had one quarter. The younger of the two children was a little girl about 3. She was trying to figure out how you could get a ball to come down. The older child, a boy of maybe 5, was pretending to push the levers. So, I told the kids, watch this. Get ready to push the levers, a ball is going to come down.
I wish you could have seen their faces light up with so much JOY! They were in awe of how this little bouncy ball/pin ball machine worked! The little boy was so good at keeping the ball in play. And then the dad peeked over again and immediately sensed there was actually a ball in the machine. He deduced quickly, by me watching them play, that I had given the quarter. So he asked, and I replied that I had. He thanked me gratefully. I of course replied that I was so happy to give the quarter. It was fun to see them so excited!
Now this experience literally took maybe 4 minutes while I was waiting for my turn in line. I had been praying for a way to make someone’s day after writing that post last week. And as soon as I saw those kids, I knew my prayer was answered. I left that pizza place on cloud 9. It was such a little thing…25¢, but it meant so much to those cute kids that day. They may not understand totally, but in their heart, they knew there was GOOD in the world. That random people can show kindness. That even the smallest gesture can make a big impact.
And do you know what happened next? As I was finishing buying my pizza, the young man who was helping me said he liked my sweater-it was really neat. What happened? The Kindness Ripple Effect. We’ve all seen the ads where one kind act sparks another. It simply is fact. This young man saw a kind act, and was prompted-probably subconsciously- to also be kind. So. very. cool. I wish I could see how the kindness continued.
So I want to renew my challenge today. Pray for a small way to impact someone’s life. Be present in your circumstances. Try to find some time alone. I think if I had been at the pizza store with three kids, I probably wouldn’t have heard the whisper to look for a quarter. Finding quiet time alone, even if it’s for 5 minutes gives us time to hear the whispers. Because being a parent is hard work. We are constantly serving, busy, and exhausted. Quiet time anywhere can lead to a conversation with God, a whisper from the Spirit to act, and a renewal of Joy.
May you be blessed in your efforts to share JOY where ever you may be.
Life is Good. Share the Good.
PS Please feel free to share your experiences! I would love to hear them!