Engrave a Ray of Sunshine on my Soul

Is compassion something learned or is it born into us?

I watch the daily interactions between my children. Sometimes I see moments that engrave a ray of sunshine on my soul. Other times I witness acts that make me wonder if solitary confinement is the only way to successfully achieve peace in a house with three small children.

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

We have a basket of blankets in the living room that are for any ones use should they get cold. For some reason my 2 year old, Cesar has formed a strong attachment to the red fleece blanket in the basket. Even though there is an exact matching blue one and my 5 year old son, Bency, doesn’t prefer one over the other he will grab the red one if he sees Cesar entering the room just to start a battle. It’s moments like these that make having more than one child difficult.

But then there’s instances that occur like the one last week. It was my daughter, Iris’s 8th birthday. In the past I have taken Bency to the store to let him pick out a small gift for his sister. However, this year things got busy and I found no time for this outing but I did pick up two ceramic unicorn statues for each boy to give to their sister on her birthday.

As Bency gave Iris her gift I heard him whisper something to her. I saw her give him a smile and a nod. I couldn’t help but to ask what was said. Bency looked at me and in the sweetest voice said, “I told her that I had really wanted to buy her a unicorn swimsuit. Maybe someday I can get that for her.”

Those words melted my heart.

Iris does love unicorns and a honestly, she really does need a swimsuit for this summer. It would have been the perfect gift and this sweet, little 5 year old boy knew that because he loves her and knows his sister so well.

Two days ago another touching moment occurred.

Normally I help Cesar brush his teeth in the morning. When he requested my help Saturday morning I told him I was busy and to hold on a minute. Bency immediately piped in with, “I can help Cesar brush his teeth.” I was a bit taken back by his offer because Bency has not really shown any nurturing qualities in the past but I agreed that he could help.

I noticed that the boys had been in the bathroom quite awhile so I decided to go check in.

When I peeked in, I saw Cesar sitting on the stool and Bency sitting there lightly brushing Cesar’s hair. Bency looked up and said, “I already brushed his teeth but I’m just trying to get his hair looking good too.”

As I stood there speechless just taking in that moment, Bency also asked if he could help Cesar get dressed for they day. I proceeded to witness Bency remove Cesar’s pajamas and help him into his shorts and button-down plaid shirt.

Bency wasn't always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, "What's wrong little guy?"

Bency wasn’t always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, “What’s wrong little guy?”

Later that day, my two older children and I went to the grocery store. As I pulled in, I noticed an old lady struggling to push her shopping cart across the parking lot. By the time I got parked and got the children out of the van, she had made her way to her car. I immediately went over to her and asked if she would like help putting her bags in her car. She said she did.

I helped her and we talked for a few minutes before the kids and I headed into the store. I did not discuss this with my children and they did not bring it up.

Should I have explained why I did this or do my children already know.

To lend a hand when you can. To lend a smile or a nice word. To buy a unicorn swimsuit…or at least tell someone you would if you could!

You're never too small to lend a helping hand

You’re never too small to lend a helping hand


28 responses

  1. That was lovely. You have set such a good example for them – however coming from a family with three kids… uh, yeah, it wan’t always be so calm and loving! You’ll want to lock yourself in solitary confinement! It’s good to see you cherishing the good times. This post really warmed my heart!

  2. They really can be sweet when you aren’t looking for it! I thought the “quiet” time in the bathroom was going to end up being something hilariously awful! I’m so glad it wasn’t though, for your sake! 🙂 That’s just where my mind goes when things get quiet. It’s such an odd sound with 3 kids! haha!

  3. Nice piece. Sweet. During these moments when the children act nicely to each other can really warm a parents heart.
    Like your children, sometimes my boys play so nicely together and then other times, they repeatedly tell me they hate each other.

  4. awww Melissa just the title of your post is so beautiful! you need to write a book (if you ever get time I know). I think compassion is born to us, but if you are lucky to have a special mum like you it can also be learnt. My poppits can be so sweet to each other and yet so mean too but they are never mean to friends/strangers and always stick up for each other feircely! (ps another post that made me wish I lived nearby!) xxxxxxxx

  5. That was wonderful! I love those moments when you see the good your children. I think you did the perfect thing by not saying anything about helping the lady. They saw what you did and neither you nor they made a big deal of it. They have learned by your example that this is just the way things should be done. You’re such a great mom. Congrats on your beautiful memories. Now they’re written in your blog and you will have them forever. You can pull them out and cherish them…or just make sure they were real…on those ‘other’ days. 😉

  6. How could your children be anything but … loving, kind, generous, empathetic, compassionate, helpful, not to mention good at mischief if it strikes their fancy … they are perfectly parented …. by goodness and joy !!!

  7. That’s just so sweet! I’ve been having my son dress his sister for me. He grumbled at first, but now that he hears me brag about it to people, he’s excited to help.

    Your children have a great example of a generous spirit to emulate.

  8. That is precious! It warms a momma’s heart to see her children living out some of the values you try so hard to instill in them! 🙂

    As far as helping the lady out and saying nothing… I’d probably not say something at times, since they do learn more by your example and the way you live your life than by your chatter about what you think. We all know our kiddos tune out half of what we say, anyway! LOL However, it also doesn’t hurt to bring to their attention why you do certain things. I.e. when we’re waiting in line and my daughter gets impatient, I tell her something like “We have to wait our turn. Everyone else wants their turn just as much as we do, so it wouldn’t be nice to cut in line.”. A three year old doesn’t understand why we’re waiting unless I tell her at some point, so her instinct was to rush to the front. Now she waits happily and tells others who look grumpy that everyone wants their turn, so it’s nice to wait. LOL

  9. I echo what Jackie and Joyce said. How could your children know anything other than empathy and kindness? You are THE best example for them. They are blessed to have a first account witness of such sacrifice.
    So, to answer your question, I don’t think it’s always necessary to explain acts of kindness. Actions really do speak louder than words in these instances. 🙂

  10. The words are beautiful–engraving a ray of sunshine on your heart–and I too see daily the contrast between moments like those and the ones where I’m contemplating solitary confinement!

    I don’t think you needed to say anything about helping the lady with the groceries. It seems the seeds are already growing in your children’s hearts to show love and compassion. Your deed “watered” those seeds more! Thank you for such an encouraging post. –Alison

  11. these moments are amazing and restore your faith in innate human kindness over and over. as my own 3 daughters grew up, and my 6 grandbabies begin to grow, and my 18 kindergarteners blossom, i see this over and over, often when least expected. you are a wonderful model for them, the best gift you could provide and pass on. )

  12. Love this! Beautifully titled and written Melissa! I am also amazed at the connection between my two kids. They can be so sweet in one breath and then start wrestling in the next breath. CRAZY for sure, but I cherish those sweet moments. Good job Mom!!

  13. Melissa you’ve a close knitted family and all those happenings do occur. You’re teaching them the right and all the little things that matter most. Your family is loving and live is the greatest gift of all. Be Blessed, Mtetar

  14. Mel – it’s the little things like this that bounce back to you, showing you that your children have learned by example and doing heartfelt actions without being asked…they are on the way to becoming caring adults. What a great job you continue to do and how special are those little poppets 🙂 xx

  15. What a great post Melissa! I believe that we are born with compassion. Of course, seeing their mom perform compassionate acts only strengthens that compassion. No need for words either, they see what you do and automatically do the same when they have a chance. What a great mummy!! And wonderful children too!

  16. I think if you looked back that is how life used to be with kids. In our family an older one always helped with a younger one and though it was close at times we never killed anybody. Those things are learned at home just as you pointed out.
    I never put the kids in solitary even when they should have been because I hated it at meal time,ya know the food tray under the door and stuff.

  17. There is a Chinese classic text called the Three Character Classic, and it starts by saying that all people are born good and kind in nature, it’s only by nurture that we grow up differently. I believe that you are nurturing them well, by thought and by example 🙂

  18. Sweet mommy = sweet babies! 🙂 they’ve learned everything sweet from their mommy I’m sure, so you didn’t need to explain why you helped the lady I’m certain they already know! 🙂 Mine fights with his cousin sometimes but most of the time they are so sweet to each other, I love how my nephew (6 years old) takes care of Nathan (Nate) and wants to teach him stuff! 🙂 lovely post Melissa, you have great kids!

  19. Pingback: Talking with a Toddler and a Pre-schooler | go mama o

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