I remember sitting on the old and faded blue couch listening as my mom told me how she was ruining Thanksgiving. Mom told us she noticed a new family moving into the trailer next door. Knowing that Thanksgiving was a week away, she invited these strangers to our Thanksgiving dinner. Now before you judge me too harshly, let me share the back story.
My parents were divorced, my dad stationed overseas, we were dirt poor and I had been making dinner long enough to know how far our groceries could go, and it sure didn’t include adding four more people. On top of that, I had to watch my 2 younger brothers after school until my mom came home exhausted from working long hours at the hospital.
Looking back on those days leading up to Thanksgiving, my fourteen-year-old self could never have imagined the blessings we received. One of the doctors my mom worked with gave each of the techs a turkey. Our neighbor, and landlord, gave us a $25 gift certificate to the grocery store. And, our new neighbors brought a huge casserole to Thanksgiving dinner!
The tiny two-bedroom single-wide trailer I hated and was horribly embarrassed by was filled with family, new friends and lots of love. There were even leftovers!
It’s been 30 years since that Thanksgiving celebration. We moved a few years later to a sunshine-yellow starter home and lost touch with the neighbors, but I’ve never forgotten the lessons my mom taught me with that one small act of kindness:
- It never hurts to be kind.
- Empathy changes a child’s heart – even that of a dramatic 14-year-old teenager.
For the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I challenge you to pick a few of these small acts of kindness, or all 25, to do with your child or as a family. Come back and share the experience in the comments. If you’ve got more ideas, please do share those as well! I’m always looking for new kindness acts to do with my 5-year-old grandson!