It was pouring. The rain was supposed to hold off till 5 pm.
What do weather apps know?
We had a barbecue in our backyard, complete with two water slides, and people daring the steep drops. With both adults and kids in attendance, many braved the slides, splashing all the people delightedly on the porch.
Problems arose when thunder and lightning interrupted our fun. Everyone looked at me as if I could make the storm go away.
I had to call everybody off the slide. Under the protection of the porch. We’ve been to enough soccer games to know the protocol when a thunderstorm erupts. You clear the field.
We had developed a splash zone we hadn’t anticipated, so water stood fairly deep on the porch. John came out with a couple of squeegees and began cleaning the water off the area. A young boy came over and asked, “Can I do that?” John grinned, handed him the squeegee, and passed out the other brooms and whatnot, and soon all the kids were clearing off the porch.
Nobody asked them to help. They thought it was fun, from the little ones who were shorter than the broom handles to the bigger kids.
It’s encouraging to see kids pitching in to help without being asked. Not something that happens all the time, but a reminder that they’re growing up and learning cooperation and responsibility.
Aren’t these character qualities things we all need to learn?
My Dad had a plethora of quaint, from-the-farm sayings. One of them was “It doesn’t cost you a nickel to be kind.” He tried to teach us the value of treating others like you want to be treated.
The Golden Rule.
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and the Prophets and this is what you have.” Matthew 7:12
Doing kindness for others shouldn’t depend on who they are, how they look, or even how they’ve treated you. If I were judged by who I am on any given day, I may not come across as I’d like to. I have my kind and compassionate moments, but I can also be quite critical.
I need kindness. I need to offer kindness without expecting anything in return.
It’s not what people can give back to you that should motivate kindness. If we see a need, we should be willing to help.
The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 tells how Jewish “religious” men passed a wounded man on the road because they didn’t want to become unclean by touching him. They went out of their way to avoid him. But a Samaritan–a group of people that didn’t get along with the Jews–stopped and took care of him. He took him to an inn, paid for his lodging and his care, and said he’d be back in a few days if any more expenses were incurred.
These kids were grateful to have a chance to play; they also enjoyed helping. They didn’t have to do anything; they’d already eaten and had gone down the slides.
I was grateful for their willingness to assist.
Kindness doesn’t cost us.
it really is its own reward.