Last summer I was involved with the startup of a new non-contact boxing program for kids titled First Punch. This program includes all kids especially those with challenges. Leif is one extraordinary kid who has made an impact on my life through this program.
At the start of the 2016- 2017 school year, I didn't know it would be my last as a school guidance counselor. Retirement came early for me due to my Parkinson’s Disease. For that entire year each morning, Monday through Friday, my routine was the same - bus duty at the start of each school day. Every morning before I dismissed the buses, I was to specifically help one little boy get safely off the bus. He was a petite ginger kindergartner who never looked me in the eye as I greeted him each morning. His eyes were ever so busy taking in everything around him, everything except for his feet trying to navigate the oversized steps of that bus.
I have never been very photogenic. Ever since that first most important school kindergarten picture, I have proven that for me smiling naturally in front of a camera is the equivalent of taking the SAT test or any test that makes one break out into a cold sweat. I have been told the story countless times. My mom curled and fixed my hair just right and sent me to school that day unaware of how this day would make family history. I blame the little plastic comb that was handed to me while I waited in line for my turn to be photographed. I tried to beautify myself with it just before the photographer said, "Say cheese!" Ask someone over fifty if you do not remember those little plastic combs that we all received in exchange for our smiles. The disheveled hair and my impish grin has caused much laughter in my family. I will save you "a thousand words." Make your own judgement.
How much do our small acts of kindness matter? As we move through our days, do the encouraging words, small acts of generosity, and the smiles we offer up to strangers and friends matter, except for a fleeting feel good moment? Do they really have a lasting effect on those around us? I may be preaching to the choir. "Of course they do," you are probably saying. However, talk is cheap, and so my question really is if we know that they matter, if we know that they are making a difference, then why do we not look for every opportunity to be intentional about noticing the people in our lives that need our encouraging words, small acts of kindness, and smiles?