Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Being Generous

I know it when I see it. I have had students over the years who shine among their classmates, not because of physical beauty, or intelligence, but because they possess incredible character qualities.

I remember when I was thinking about how I wanted Isabel’s room to look... long before she ever came home… and I came upon an article in some designer magazine. It showed photos of a child’s room and painted in large, beautiful letters were ten or twelve character qualities encircling the top of the wall near the ceiling. I thought about how amazing it would be to wake up and look at words like: kindness, thoughtfulness, faithfulness, generosity. I never got around to painting the words. .. maybe some day I will. But that image of the room came back to me this week during a meeting with the director of Isabel’s school.

In the middle of our discussion, she mentioned something that had occurred about an hour before regarding Isabel. The children had finished lunch and were getting ready to take a nap. The mats were all laid out and the children had their sheets and blankets on top. Apparently, one little girl had forgotten her bedding. She was just laying there when one of the teachers heard Isabel say to her friend, “Here, you can have my blanket. Then you won’t get cold.”

As I did when I was first told this, I am tearing up right now, just thinking of it. I am so aware that my child has a strong sense of empathy. This summer, she was pretty troubled about a homeless woman who, for about a week, camped out at a bus stop on our route to school.

She tunes in to people who are in need and feels compelled to take action on their behalf: from sharing candy with a child at the grocery check out lane, to wanting to take a homeless woman to our house for the night, to giving up her own blanket to someone so that she could be warm. I am amazed at how this comes so naturally to her.

While driving home later that day, I mentioned to her that I heard about how she gave her blanket to her friend. Without fanfare and in a rather matter-of-fact way, she simply said, “I was just being generous, Mom.”

Yes, you were. May I continue to learn from you each day, my child.


Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

What a beautiful post, Laureen. Made me tear up, too to think about her offering up her blanket. Such a sweet, generous, and compassionate girl...she gets a lot that from you. Still unpacking and emerging from the huge mass of boxes but very eager to skype...maybe this weekend?

Wanda said...

Lovely. If we can teach our children one thing it would be empathy. But when they have it, what a blessing!