A child ended up teaching his father that giving out of love and sincerity, however big or small the gesture is, never goes unnoticed and can make a world of difference in someone's life.
We are often told to be kind to one another and never back down from helping people in need. However, sometimes, even the most considerate people are left wondering whether what they have is enough to change somebody's life.
A man named Justice Smith went through the same thoughts when he saw a homeless man on his way home. While he wanted with all his heart to help the stranger in need, he didn't have any cash on him.
Justice Smith pictured with his 5-year-old son Justus. | Photo: facebook.com/therealjustice
THE KIND KID
Smith's 5-year-old son was also with him at the time, as the daddy-son duo was returning from the dentist. Seeing that he had nothing to give, Smith waved to the homeless guy standing in the median. But just then, something strange happened.
His son, Justus Mateo, insisted he give the 30 cents in his pocket to the homeless man. Smith was taken aback at first, and he felt as if his child had heard his thoughts. While he was happy to discover his son's kind intentions, something made him hesitant.
Given that the man was homeless and in a terrible state, Smith didn't just want to give him 30 cents. He feared that the stranger might react differently to receiving only two coins when he needed all the help he could get.
Time was clearly running out because Smith's car was at the traffic signal, and the lights could turn green any moment. He then began processing the situation mentally. Talking about his initial hesitation, he shared:
"I almost showed him [Justus] that what he sees as a good thing and is in fact a good thing, isn’t good enough to make a difference in someone’s life."
Smith explained how he almost stopped his son and told him to wait until they had at least $1 to give to the homeless guy. By doing so, he had almost taught his son that what he had wasn't enough, and pride was more important than helping someone.
Fortunately, Smith was able to shove away the limiting thoughts before it was too late. He then rolled down the car window, turned to the homeless individual, handed him the 30 cents his son had and said:
"I’m sorry man, I don’t have any cash on me, but my son back here wants to give you everything he has right now. He just turned 5!"
The homeless guy took the money and flashed a big, warm smile. He looked at Mateo, thanked him for his kind heart, and left after showering the daddy-son duo with love and prayers.
Soon afterward, Mateo's genuine act of kindness triggered a chain reaction. Smith revealed how he saw several people rolling down their car windows to help the man. He witnessed the heartwarming scene from his rearview mirror.
5-year-old Mateo had not only taught his father how important it was to give to people, regardless of how much or how little you have, but also inspired many others to extend a helping hand.
Smith said he felt incredibly happy seeing the homeless individual's reaction and also the way his son's face lit up. More importantly, he was glad little Mateo was just like his mom, and he hadn't failed him as a father.
People leaving moving comments on Smith's social media post about his son's kind gesture. | Photo: facebook.com/therealjustice
TEACHING KINDNESS TO KIDS
What 5-year-old Mateo did for the homeless man shows how important it is to teach kindness to children. Experts say that it is important to help kids understand what kindness means from an early age.
Rachel Tomlinson, a registered psychologist and author of "Teaching Kids to be Kind," has talked about 5 critical strategies parents should focus on when teaching their kids how to be kind. Modeling kindness and leading by example is the first step.
Parents should walk the walk so kids know how to practice kindness. They also need to talk the talk, so children are aware of what to say when trying to be kind to someone. Using reinforcing behaviors like rewarding kids for being kind is also vital.
A boy holding a pink flag with the word 'Kindness' on it. | Photo: Pexels
Teaching kids to be in touch with their emotions or discuss how they feel with their parents is helpful, especially when you want to tell them about empathy. Gradually, this will help kids comprehend what it means to put themselves in someone else's place.
Developmental pediatrician Damon Korb, M.D., has discussed two rules for telling kids about kindness. The Golden Rule implies treating others like you want to be treated, which is the starting point for making young minds understand kindness.
Then comes the Platinum Rule, which means treating others the way that's best for them, even if it differs from what's best for us. Undoubtedly, with a little practice and consistency, we can teach kids to display kindness the way Mateo did.