Little Things Make the Difference

I attended a committee meeting last evening at one of the member’s homes.  During the meeting the phone began to ring.  She excused herself to take the call and was soon back at the table.  Again the phone rang and the process was repeated.

This happened five times.  The rest of us continued talking and ignored the ringing phone but finally she filled us in.

“I’m so sorry but my son just did a great thing at his baseball game and people are calling to tell me about it.”

That’s great!  A homerun?  A no-hitter?  A triple play?  We all speculated as to what this wonderful thing could be that would cause so many people to call.

“No.  A little boy on the other team threw himself on the ground after being struck out.  His team members left him there but my son went over, helped him up and told him it was okay and then walked him to the other team’s bench.” 

We were all silent for a moment.  Dante, the boy in question, is only eight years old.  The other player had thrown a temper tantrum, as young kids are apt to do, however, most kids would point and laugh.  Not this young boy.  Dante felt the pain of his competitor and reached out a helping hand.

It was a little thing, really.  Almost not worthy of a blog post.  But the message in this story seems rather large to me. 

  • Reaching out to help the competition is newsworthy
  • At the end of the day; helping others is more important than the end result
  • You are never too young to understand the value of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes
  • Lending a helping hand might not be the popular thing to do (witness his team mates who left him crying on the field) but it is always the right thing to do
  • Compassion and empathy live on in our next generation

Little eight year old Dante is my hero today.  I wonder if put in a similar situation if I could have been brave enough to do the same thing.  If I saw a competitor struggling or a customer having an ackward moment – would I step in or pretend I didn’t see?  How about you?  What can you learn from this 8 year old?


Make or Break Moment at the Bus Stop

Make or Break Moments happen in all aspects of our lives.  It’s the weekend so I’m going to share a personal moment:  A Parent Moment.

My daughter, Emily, entered middle school this year with all its stress of changing classes, bigger building and locker combination.  She immediately began struggling with remembering the necessary school work at the end of the day and on one occassion; her flute for band class.

Now my daughter loves to play the flute – in fact, it is about the only thing she feels confident about and has worked very hard to achieve the Second Chair in band. (first chair being the spot held by the most talented player)

She faithfully practices for more than an hour each day and although naturally very shy, will gladly play for anyone who asks.

In an effort to teach her responsibility, in light of her forgetfulness, we worked on organizational strategies and finally I said – “That’s it – you are now on your own.  If you forget something, you will just have to suffer the consequences.”

Two days later, at 6:30 am I drove my daughter to the bus stop (we live 1/2 mile from the stop) and as she got out of the car she realized that she’d forgotten her flute. 

She got back in the car and said – you’ll have to take me home and then drive me to school, I’ve forgotten my flute.

I looked at her and said “I’m so sorry, but you’ll just have to go to school without the flute.”

Her blue eyes wide with shock, she quietly left the car, slumped to the bus and was crying by the time she hit her bus seat.

I prayed for her all day, knowing that the consequences for being unprepared in band would be to move to the very last chair in the flute section.

I later learned that she spent the entire day crying and at one point was sent to the counselor for support.  (I’m feeling about as low as I can – BAD MOMMY.)

She came home and said “I will never forget my flute again.”

That was three weeks ago.  Although she continues to play and practice, she remains in LAST CHAIR, everyday living the consequences of that one make or break moment at the bus stop.

However, the story has a really beautiful ending.

Two days ago she came home and shared an experience she had.  Her friend, Rachel, who has band a different period from Emily, forgot her flute.  Emily learned this sad news and went up to Rachel and said:

“I know what it is like to forget your flute.  I’m still last chair.  Why don’t you borrow my flute for 3rd period and just promise to get it back to me at lunch so I have it for my band class.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my daughter.  In the past three weeks, she has not complained once about being in the last chair.  She continues to practice and work hard at her craft and when given the opportunity to save a friend from a similar fate – she offered to help.

Should I have just gone home and allowed her to get her flute and saved her all of this pain?  Part of me wishes I had.  However, I can see that because of how I handled that moment at the bus stop, my daughter was given the opportunity learn a lesson she’ll never forget.  And when faced with her own opportunity to make a difference – she chose to actively participate in someone else’s life – in a good way.

Do you have a make or break moment that comes to mind with your children?  I’d love to hear about it.

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