One day last week George and I made a Target run. The closest to our home is in a multi-level center that also includes a movie theater, grocery store and a Barnes and Noble. The nice thing is that you can access all stores and levels through the interior elevators – perfect for this frigid winter. I’ve been taking G to this particular B&N since he started cruising because they have a large Thomas the Train table in the children’s book section and (usually) have trains for children of shoppers to play on the tracks.
This day when we arrived at the table, George seemed to remember and made a run for it, bending down to say “hi” to the train faces on the sides of the table and running his chubby little fingers along the tracks. But, there were no trains to be had. Another little boy, a three year old, was playing with trains he had brought from home. George occupied himself following the boy around, chattering and interested in every little movement. The boy’s nanny introduced herself and pulled a matchbox car from her pocket, offering it for George to borrow. He saw the shiny little sedan and squealed with delight as he took it from the woman’s outstretched hand and proceeded to the table.
That’s when it happened.
The other boy saw George playing with his car, turned the most unnatural shade of deep red and began to scream. Screamed so loud, so long and so frighteningly that other shoppers started to gather.
George stood, rooted to his place, looking at the boy with a startled expression while I moved to stand at his side. The boy’s caretaker was able to soothe him after a couple of minutes (not moments, minutes). As he gave my baby the side-eye and went back to playing with his trains, G approached him. One step from the boy, George stretched out his little hand with the car in his palm, returning the toy.
In awe of my tiny son at that moment, I wondered how he knew to practice kindness and compassion at such a tender age. He knew the right thing to do in that moment, without suggestion, without coaxing. I do believe that people start out innately good and this one moment restored my faith in that belief. Reflecting on this today, I remembered this passage referring to “the Golden Rule”:
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31
I live in hope that I am a positive role model and that my husband and I will raise George to be a good, kind man. What I know for sure is that, right now, he is the sweetest boy a Mama could dream.