I want to debunk this common myth about today’s youth. Sure, there are a few disrespectful, bratty, and entitled kids out there, but a great many of them are wonderful! I’ve had stories pour in from all across the globe and I want to share with you today just a few of the inspiring and beautiful hearts of “these kids today.”
I recently brought my two young children, Jackson (2 and a half) and Tayva (14 months) to a community Passover Seder at a Rabbi couple’s home in Portland, Oregon. There were several families there with young children, and some older kids as well. And there was one very elderly woman in a wheel chair being cared for by her daughter.
Upon arriving and settling in, I took my children to the bathroom. When we returned to the gathering of attendants getting ready to light candles and begin the evenings event, my son Jackson headed right over to the woman in the wheelchair.
This 90-something year old woman was half-blind, totally mute, propped up in a reclining wheel chair, and covered in woolen slippers, hat, and blankets. Besides her daughter who was wheeling her around, no one was interacting with her. But Jackson was completely drawn to her. He immediately put his little hands on her wrinkled hands resting in her lap, and leaned in and introduced himself with his name with his sweet toddler voice.
When the Seder began, Jackson came back to sit with me and his baby sister. Throughout the evening, he continued to get up and go to her across the room, saying first, “I’m going to go see my new friend!” And he would again touch her hands and lean in close to her face to talk to her. Or he just stood very close to her and just observe the happenings in the room comfortably, as if standing near a relative or close friend.
What a remarkable thing to witness: his pure, innocent, completely unbiased love from his soul to another soul. My son has had no prior experience with someone so elderly let alone incapacitated, for neither his father nor I have any grandparents left. When we go to parties or community events, he often chooses one person to connect with, but it usually is a friendly teenage girl who’s good with kids or another child. That he was so drawn and unafraid to connect with a woman in her state warmed my heart beyond words. I actually teared up witnessing it, and have shed a few more tears retelling the beautiful story.
Since the Seder a few weeks ago, Jackson asks often if we can go back to the rabbi’s house so he can see his new friend, “Grandma Nomi”. I learned from speaking with her daughter that all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in Israel and she hasn’t had any children around her for a long time. Her daughter said she could tell that little Jackson’s loving attention to her warmed and lightened her mother’s heart.
I couldn’t help but ponder if they were friends in past lives. Or ponder whether it was the spiritual similarity between the very young and very old, as the time distance toward and from Spirit is the same. It really was a spiritual phenomenon, as Jackson was able to connect with someone who could not communicate, by connecting with her soul essence.
Blessings on our children, that they keep their hearts pure of love! Thank you for the inspiring blog!
My son is 15, he’ll turn 16 in Sept, and my story isn’t anything that he did that went above and beyond or was any random act of kindness it’s just about him being there for me.
My father died about a month and a half ago and it was a pretty tough time as you can imagine. My father and I had a very strained relationship, we hadn’t really spoken in the past 3 years, which made it both hard and a little easier. Well, I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d have made it through it without the constant love and strength that my son gave to me.
The funeral was particularly tough on both of us, we sat together for the majority of it and sometimes just cried amoungst each other, I held him and he held me. Then it came time to go up and say our final goodbyes, I damn near lost it, but there was my son by my side practically holding me up being the strength I needed. My son, my rock, my best friend, my 1st true love, my boy. I don’t know what I’d do without him. – Nicole H
Hello, I just wanted to share my daughters story in an effort to help you bust the myth of entitled bratty kids.
Last holiday season, I set out to change what it means to our family. I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old, and my oldest was getting very excited about Christmas, I wanted the true meaning of Christmas to shine through, and not have my girls get into the mindset of getting gifts. I gave some ideas and thoughts on what we could do, and my 3 year old named Penelope decided she wanted to make presents for all the boys and girls that didn’t have mommys and daddys to buy them presents (I refuse to lie to her about santa, so she knows we buy her gifts) She chose the home here locally to donate to, and we made homemade caramels to give all the children. She now talks of the holidays in terms of what she is going to do for others and not what she is going to get. In our home, it truly is the gift of giving, and I hope to keep it that way. – Amanda
My mom was shopping at a local thrift shop. She noticed two teenage girls both wearing cute hats. She approached the girls and asked them where they’d gotten their hats. In an effort to explain why she was interested, she mentioned she’d lost her hair to chemo, was wearing a wig, and was always on the lookout for a cute hat. The girls replied to her questions & continued on their way out the store. A few minutes passed and the girls returned, both of them giving the hats they’d been wearing moments earlier to my mom. I don’t know if they realized the impact they had on her. We both cried at their kindness when my mom related the story to me later. They will probably never know that their story is still told (8 years later) and will be forever remembered by me. They acted on an impression to do good. If I could meet those girls, I would give them all the love and appreciation I have through a great big hug. My mom has since passed on, but I keep those hats as a reminder of the goodness there is in the world. Often it comes through most clearly in the youth! – Joy C
Just wanted to share a story about my 15 month old daughter. Her older brother, who is almost 4, has cerebral palsy and developmental delays. He can’t walk or talk. Every time we take them to the park, she will pick flowers and put them in his hands. Every night she won’t go to bed until she’s given him a kiss. I don’t see a child being spoiled by gentle parenting. I see one learning empathy and kindness at a remarkably young age. – Aubri T
My daughter, Scarlett, is 8 years old. Last year for her 7th birthday she decided that instead of presents for her party, she wanted her friends to bring donations to the animal shelter.
She also cares greatly for the environment. When we go for walks she always wants to bring garbage bags so she can clean up the litter. – Lindsey U
When I was pregnant there were a couple kids sitting next to me at the beach while I was eating. Older, teenage kids. Both boys. One lit a cigarette and the other told him they should take it elsewhere because I was pregnant and apologized to me for being rude and lighting up right next to me. I wanted to thank his mamma! – Jennifer N
When my oldest daughter Keely was voted on the homecoming court, I asked her if another girl we knew had been voted for the homecoming court as well. She said “I don’t know Mom, I don’t hang out with her.” I said, “I thought you girls were friends” She said, “We are friends, I just don’t hang out with her. She has lots of people to hang out with. My main people that I hang out with are a really overweight girl, and a gay guy that has no other friends….if I didn’t sit with them at lunch, they would have to sit alone…” When she told me this, I started sobbing. I knew that I had done the job I set out to do with parenting! It was awesome! – Kendra S
I saw a group of young men park their cars and begin to clean up some of the garbage along the streets and lots by my house today. – Mary Jo B
I recently moved to a new city and went to pick up some sandwiches (with my toddler son in tow) for a worker who was doing some projects in my house. As soon as I pulled up to the sandwich shop, I saw it was packed with teenagers. (They must have been on their lunch break.). After waiting in the long line with my toddler on my hip, I waited for my order and when I went to pick it up, my wallet slipped out of my hand and onto the floor. Without a beat, one of the girls at a nearby table popped down, picked it up, and handed it back to me with a smile. I got myself pulled together and then walked toward the door. One of the punkier-looking boys jogged ahead of me and I figured he must have been on his way out. But no – he just opened the door for me and my son with another kind smile. I have to admit, it made me feel great about my new hometown – and hopeful that my son will be equally as thoughtful when he is their age. – Jessica K
My daughter’s class of 6-8 year olds is putting up their art work for auction to get LifeStraw water filters for Ethiopian kids who do not have access to clean water. Just like anyone, when kids are in balance, loved and respected for who they are, they show amazing empathy for those less fortunate. My daughter is so attached to the project that she is planning to set up donations for LifeStraw, as well as a lemonade stand at her summer birthday party to continue to raise funds. I’m not sure if I was thinking about people other than myself when I was 6! – Efsun S
My 3 year old likes to draw pictures and make things for her friends for no reason at all besides it making her happy.
She also offers me the same empathy I offer her when I am sad or upset. She always asks me if I would like a hug. I ALWAYS take it and sometimes just cry. She waits patiently and tells me what I tell her “I am here for you and I love you.”
It melts my heart every time!! – Heather B