Yesterday, when I picked Beth up from after school club, I had an accident form to sign for her. She’d been hit in the eye by a ball which one of the other kids had thrown.
“We knew she’d been properly hurt,” said one of the ladies who runs after school club, “because she cried. And Beth never cries.”
(It’s true. She doesn’t. Bar when she was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis a couple of weeks ago, which I guess kind of justifies crying. Generally speaking though, she just cracks on with things in a typically aggressive and slightly odd Beth-like manner.)
When we got home I sat down with her to check she was okay. I asked her if she had been looked after when she got hurt and if someone had come to give her a cuddle.
“Yes. They did.”
“Who was it? Who gave you a cuddle?”
“Jamie came and cuddled me. He was playing with his friends but he saw I was crying and he came to get me. My brother came and looked after me.”
I went to speak to Jamie.
“Did you really go and give Beth a cuddle when she hurt herself?”
“Of course I did. I love her.”
“I am so proud of you.”
“Obviously don’t tell anyone, Mum. It would be MEGA embarrassing.” And he went back to mindlessly moving blocks of sand and stone around his computer screen to the rambling background noise of some lunatic – very rich lunatic, granted – called Dan TDM.
And usually, when my children tell me not to share something about them, I don’t. But today, Jamie, I’m afraid I am ignoring your wishes, because I am SO proud of you doing something which I know must have been mildly mortifying for you. As a ten year old boy, to leave your group of mates that you’re playing with, to go over to the other side of the playground, and to cuddle your little sister when she is upset… I completely appreciate that that probably wasn’t the cool option. You might even have got laughed at when you went back to your friends. And yet you did it anyway. Because you knew without even being asked that it was the right thing to do. That your sister needed you. That you were going to choose to be kind.
There are so many things about both of my children that make me proud, but my goodness, their consistent kindness to others is out at the top of the list by an absolute mile. If I bring my children up to do nothing else, I hope I have brought them up to be kind. Kindness is everything. And, if all of us were able to demonstrate just a little more kindness on a day to day basis… just think what a world we could live in.