All I wanted was to finish my last bit of dinner in peace. Resting my head in my hands wasn’t really easing the pain but it wasn’t making it any worse. As my head continued to throb, I alternated between food and water. My family knew my head was killing me and they gave me the space and quiet that I needed.
A few more bites and I would make my way upstairs. The stillness of the room was saving me from this migraine that came out of nowhere. It was one of those headaches where just the slightest noise or the faintest light is painful.
Then out of nowhere, I saw my five year old son coming towards me. He had noticed that the water in my glass was getting low and he didn’t want me to run out.
Watching him wield the water filter so as to top off my glass was a sight to behold. He had to garner all his strength and summon every bit of his coordination to transfer the water from the filter to my glass. But he did it quite well. And it warmed my heart.
The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.
My son’s small act was unexpected and I’m certain it was not planned. Yet, it will go down as one of the sweetest gestures I have ever witnessed.
Simply because it was unplanned and unexpected. It was a spontaneous reaction by him. He saw an opportunity to do something kind and bring me joy. And so he did.
If my five year old son can do this then so can I. Acts of kindness don’t always need to be grandiose and they don’t always need to be planned. Just imagine a world, a school, a classroom in which small acts of kindness fill the room like air. That is where I want to be.
As I am lying in bed typing this piece my son has woken up. If I’m being honest, the first thing on his mind was whether or not his iPad was charged. The second thing? He asked me if I was feeling better.
I am sure much of the reason I am feeling better is because I took something for my headache and I had a good night’s sleep. But I’d also like to think that my son’s small acts of kindness helped a little.
Oftentimes we sit and ponder ways in which we can change the world. We think and we think and we think. All the while, the potential for small acts of kindness pass us by. I am not suggesting that we stop searching for big answers. What I am suggesting is that every once in a while we stop, for a moment or two, to do the little things.
Sometimes the simplest gestures, smallest compliments or just knowing that someone is thinking about you can be enough to make you smile for the rest of the day.
Knowing this makes me smile. Over the course of the next month schools will develop plans, learn new teaching methods and receive professional development on everything from A to Z. And that’s okay.
But I can rest a little easier knowing that maybe the best way for me to make an impact, to cause a child to smile is by simply being aware of what in fact does so.
The little things.