Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Acts of Kindness

This year as Kate's been more comfortable roaming the neighborhood with her friends and has expanded her territory (she can ride her bike or walk up to the community center/library, where I pick up the Flexcar, by herself...five or six blocks) she's gotten to know a few of the families that live around here. She's so funny, we'll be walking along and she'll say "That's Gretchen's house. She has two dogs and just had a baby." or "I see H. was out drawing on the sidewalk again."

H. is a kindergarten girl who we just discovered also goes to Kate's school. Her parents are very gently trying to introduce H. to taking the school bus. They were thrilled to find out that Kate goes to the same school and over Halloween they came by to ask if I'd be okay with Kate walking up to their house and getting on the bus with H. a few times to ease her into it. Kate was happy to help and I had no objections. Kate made her first trip with H. yesterday.

Last night H.'s dad called me up to gush about how "exceptional" Kate is, how kind and so on. He thanked me profusely for letting Kate take the bus with H. and asked if Kate would be okay with being H.'s "bus friend" that she could go to if she had any problems on the bus... if Kate would just watch out for her. Kate, of course, is happy to do so. Knowing my girl and her keen sense of justice (where does she get that?) I'm confident that he wouldn't even have needed to ask: Kate's the kind of girl who looks out for others anyway. Then the dad wanted to know if there was anything at all they could buy for Kate, "a doll or something? I don't know what girls her age are interested in.." and I assured him that wasn't necessary. I told him that if they wanted to get Kate a card I was sure she would be thrilled at that, and he laughed like I was putting him on.

The thing is, neither Kate nor I know what to say about this effusiveness. We really are happy to help and it's really no big deal. I didn't know how to explain that our family values are that doing a "good deed" (like being a nice little girl's "bus buddy") is reward in itself. When I watched Kate's friend Alex over a weekend his mom left me with money but I thought that was fair since we took the kids out to eat and went bowling. Totally different.

I was pleased to see that Kate's attitude about acts of kindness and doing good deeds or "the right thing" are in line with mine. I know some kids would be very motivated by possible rewards for their good deeds but I'm much more comfortable with the attitude that you help a little old lady cross the road because she needs help, not because you hope she gives you $5 for your "trouble".


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Blogger Cruel Buddha Says:

In the first volume of Kurt Busiek's Astro City, the Samaritan notes that he at one time tried to ignore the thanks and honors that others attempted to bestow upon him - but eventually realized that it made him appear to be implying that he was "too good" for them, which was never his intention.

While I completely agree with the lesson you would have Kate learn in principle, sometimes we have to let others thank us in the way they're accustomed to for their sake, not for ours. You feel slightly uncomfortable with H.'s father's wanting to do something for Kate - but I bet he might feel uncomfortable that he isn't being allowed to show his appreciation in the manner that makes him and his family feel comfortable...

Just a thought. ;)



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