I keep in a pocket of my purse a small pouch filled with tiny cardstock heart-shaped punch-outs. Sometimes when running errands, when Petunia is in an especially good mood, I suggest we “spread a little kindness today.” She is given the pouch and, if she comes across someone who engages with her positively or someone who just appears to her like they need a pick-me-up, she offers them one of these hearts. Often times people are taken aback, but most are very receptive to her charms. The hearts get tucked into wallets, change purses and pockets, always with a smile, perhaps to be sent through the washer and dryer with disregard, but just maybe to serve as a reminder later that day, or someday in the future when the wallet is cleaned out, of the innocence and altruism of our children. Today, a day following yet another mass school shooting in America, seemed like a good day to replenish our heart pouch.
Oh, friends, please nurture your children, especially the young boys. Let them know that emotions – all emotions – are legitimate. Let them know they are in a safe space where anger, fear, jealousy and sadness are as important to express as happiness, pride and bravery. Let them know that they are heard and seen. Teach them how to cope with disappointment and failure. As parents, these are our responsibilities and we owe it to our children to fulfill them.