I’ve written before about doing “discount” good deeds for the people we’re close to, like our friends, family and neighbours. One of my daughter’s best pals falls into two of these three categories: she lives on our street and she plays with my kid regularly. Last week the girls made plans to go out trick-or-treating together, same as every year. Except fate threw a monkey wrench into their plans – in the form of chicken. Chicken pox, that is. Consequently my daughter’s playmate was forced to spend the past week at home in glum isolation, Halloween or no Halloween.
One of the reasons I think kids are so compassionate is because they often seem able to put themselves completely in another’s shoes. My daughter had no trouble imagining the agony of missing out on tricks and treats. Of course she couldn’t lift her friend’s quarantine or change the date on the calendar, so she did what was within her power. All evening she toted an extra treat bag as she made her Halloween rounds, and at every house she gave the same pitch: “I’m collecting candy for my friend with the chicken pox.” The result? A nice weighty sack-o-treats, hand-delivered at the end of the night. And a big grin on the face of the receiver of said oversweet delivery. (Why shouldn’t her parents be on the hook for their kid’s dental bills like the rest of us?)
Over the weekend my daughter also took time to make and send a PowerPoint get-well card, deliver a movie she thought her friend would enjoy, and decorate a batch of chicken-pox cupcakes (which, or is it just me, sounds like something one ought to be able to buy at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes?).
As I wrote before, having consideration for your friends is one way of strengthening those relationships. I know my daughter’s pal would be there for her in a pinch.
Plus when you’re a kid, performing acts of kindness for people you’re acquainted with means you get to see firsthand the results of your efforts.
There’s nothing like the glowing face of a friend to remind you that you done good.