As I began last week’s blog, I commented that children are always formed by those a step or two ahead of them. Young ones take everything in. Their values, attitudes, and theology are being molded.
I also noted that I had met some of my heroes at a special occasion years ago. Here is some more of that story.
One of my heroes, a career Navy man, would show up at our house from time to time with gifts from distant places for the adults. He thrilled us small boys by giving us rides on his motorcycle.
There are many people I remember fondly: families and homes where sleeping overnight was fun, warm, and comforting; individuals who kidded us in the Dutch language; some who were unique and fascinating because of mannerisms, handicaps, or eccentricities.
I tried to speak to these childhood heroes and heroines about how much they still meant to me forty-five to fifty years later. It didn't seem to register. Maybe they were being modest in brushing my compliments aside. But it's more likely that each of them had had so much life that the brief, fleeting, contacts with this little kid were insignificant.
None of these laid hands on my head and blessed me. I recall no prophetic words or predictions of success or happiness. Such pronouncements would have been indelibly tattooed on my soul because of their importance to me. But, as it is, they nourished my spirit and positively modeled adulthood by just being kind, interested, attentive, genuine people. They told me the world is safe, caring, and enjoyable and that God is good.
As a father of four, I have felt immense appreciation for the adults who have enthusiastically enjoyed our children. Sometimes a friend, teacher, or relative has embraced wholeheartedly the one struggling hardest, the one we parents were having the most trouble accepting at the moment. Such gifts were like megadoses of vitamins for each kid's soul-healing, restoring, renewing.
Do you have some similar stories to share? Write to us at ShowUp@careandkindness.org or add a comment on our Facebook page.