The Fortune

Originally posted in my ‘other’ journal on October 14th, 2005
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Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
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We live very close together. So, our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. -Dalai Lama


Today when I pulled up curbside at Austin’s school to pick him up, he was standing there waiting for me, his face beaming. I could tell he was excited about something. Once he was in the car I asked him how his day was, just as I do everyday.
“It was a great day momma!”. This isn’t his usual response. I usually get a grunt or a shoulder shrug, but never has he said it was a “great” day. Okay. I’ll bite. What was great about today?
“Well, remember the fortune cookie I put in my back pack today?”. We had leftover fortune cookies from our chinese dinner a couple of nights earlier and he had taken one for his snack at school. Yes, I remember…
“My fortune said A great day lies ahead in the not too distant future, and it was true!”, he said excitedly. I couldn’t help but smile at how excited he was. Something really great must have happened like a perfect test score or he was the fastest runner in P.E. today. Why is that?, I asked. The answer I got was not what I expected, but so much more. It was a priceless gift.
At lunch time today, a 5th grader that Austin did not know (Austin is 9, in the 4th grade) fell down in some mud. Austin was with four of his friends, and they had witnessed this from a short distance away. Two other boys that Austin also didn’t know walked over to the boy who had fallen down and started to tease and make fun of him, telling him it looked like he had “pooped” in his pants. This boy then started to cry. Austin, as well as his friends, immediately went over this fallen boy and helped him up. Two of the four friends turned around and made it clear to the two who had made fun of the fallen boy that what they did was not nice. Then, Austin and his friends then helped this boy up and walked with him to the front office. The principal came out and asked what had happened and when she heard about the boys who had made fun of this fallen 5th grader, she asked the boys to go back and escort these bad boys back to her office. Austin opted to stay at the office with the boy who had fallen to comfort him. Once the other boys had been escorted to the principal’s office, they were told they would be getting detention after school for what they had done. Austin and his friends then went back to their lunch recess and went about their day. So why was it a great day?, I asked.
“Because momma, I felt so bad for that boy! At first I wanted to laugh, but then I know how horrible I would have felt if that would have been me. So my me and my friends decided we would help him out and I could tell he was glad. It felt really good to help him and that’s why it was a great day, just like my fortune said!”.
This, my friends, was one of those “light bulb” moments when I realized, this is what it is all about. My heart swelled with pride and it took an act of God not to start blubbering like an idiot. This is also the child that always helps little old ladies at the market when he sees they’re having trouble reaching something on a shelf or will carry their groceries to the car while I’m inside shopping. He worries what will happen to the world and wonders why we have to have wars and gets angry at our government when he sees homeless people on the street. This is the boy who says the only way to change things is to go into politics so he can make a difference, at age 9! Many have told me he has an “old soul”. He says he thinks my brother is in him. Who knows? But whatever it is, it’s priceless and I am honored to share in it, everyday.


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