This morning as I was getting ready for work, I heard the unmistakable sounds of my son in the kitchen, making breakfast. This is not a regular occurrence. My husband and I are usually almost ready to sit down and eat before our son makes his appearance, and that is almost always only after we’ve called him. And called him.
We, of course, thanked him and praised him for his kind deed, though we were sharing looks over the top of his head, looks that asked what it was he wanted, or had done. I know, we’re awfully suspicious, but we do have history on our side.
As I walked my son across the street before we went our separate ways for the day, he said earnestly, “You know, I really just wanted to help out.”
“I know, and you were a huge help. It made my morning much easier. So thank you,” I said, putting my arm around him.
A furrowed brow met my proud mother eyes. “But it didn’t really take that long. And it wasn’t very hard.”
“No, but sometimes the simplest things can make a huge difference.”
“Like saying good night,” he offered.
I thought about this as I walked; about the simple things that make a big difference. About the things that I do that make a difference in my family’s day – like taking some time to say good night properly.
I smiled when I reached the little park along my route and saw that, finally, the snow and ice had melted – it was the first morning in months that I would be able to walk through it. Simple things, I reconfirmed in my mind.
That was when I noticed a sign taped to a tree. In bold, green letters, it read “BEING NICE TO PEOPLE IS A REALLY GOOD IDEA,” with a drawing of a bright, happy sun at the bottom. And just like that, my day got even better.
There were other signs, taped to other trees and to the odd park bench. I looked around, wondering if the person who had done this was nearby, if they could see the effect their signs were having on the people who stopped to read them. But after a moment’s pause, I realized that didn’t matter, not to a person who really meant it. The important thing was to do one, simple action that would make a difference in a person’s day. Selflessly. Without getting anything back.
I wonder how many people are walking around the city today with a smile on their face because of those signs. How many, like me, are just a bit more aware that any small gestures might improve the day of those around them?
I bet my son would have some great ideas for other similar, simple gestures. I’m looking forward to discussing it with him at bedtime. Just before I say goodnight.