I would be lying if I said my Lily was sweet and thoughtful all of the time. She is much like a Sour Patch Kid, she is oftentimes sweet and then especially sour, much like her Momma. My husband always teases me and says that I tricked him because I was so sweet before we got married.
My Lil has a big, sweet heart when necessary, she can be loving and caring, compassionate, empathetic, and generous. This year she started at a new school and has found friendship with a little girl, Holly (name changed for privacy), who is developmentally disabled.
The past week Lily was concerned about Holly because she was absent from school with a fever. I think that she was back for part of the day on Friday, but was sent home because the fever came back, and because of this Lily was concerned all weekend. We watched a movie Friday night and at random points in the movie Lily would say, "I really hope that Holly is feeling better." or "I wish that Holly's fever would go away so that she could be at school on Monday." Not only did this dominate the conversation Friday night, it continued to weigh on Lil's sweet heart all weekend.
Each day that Lil comes home from school is filled with stories about Holly. How Holly was able to go down the slide, how she did not have to run extra laps in gym class for talking because she only laughs, how she and Lily sat at story time together and giggled. Every day my heart is filled because of this special friendship that I get to hear about. Every day I look forward to "Holly Stories".
Our children learn empathy and compassion from us. They learn how to treat others by watching our actions and listening to our words. Acceptance and love is something that is natural to all children until they see their parents treat others with hatred, until they see their parents laugh at someone who is different.
As parents it is our job to help our children grow into empathetic, compassionate, understanding adults. It is our job to model how to treat others and how to talk to others, how to help, and how to accept.
We are doing something right with our children even though so many days I feel like I fail as a parent; at least I know that we are showing them how to be good humans. If I do anything right in this crazy marathon of parenting I want it to be this, I want it to be that my children grow into compassionate and empathetic adults.
Lily may be a bit of a Sour Patch Kid like her Momma, but her big, sweet heart is always in the right place.