Acts of kindness

Prev Next

Acts of kindness
The greatest acts of kindness seem to come from unexpected sources. Let me tell you a little story. When I was a young Groot I was pretty insecure. Sucking my thumb brought pleasure and allowed me to handle the stresses of growing up. It also left me with a pretty severe overbite, one that was about to cost my parents a good deal of money at the orthodontist—who happened to be my Uncle Ernie. Ernie, my maternal grandmother's brother, was about as conservative a human being as there was on the planet. He'd grown up in the midst of the great depression and a penny saved was a penny earned. My parents hadn't a lot of money and so Ernie cut a deal with my mom. "I'll fix the kid's teeth for the cost of materials if you get him to stop sucking his thumb." Bitters, pepper sauce, scoldings, finger waggings, and threats had no effect on me. I was committed to my thumb while holding onto my tattered blue blanket and over-cuddled brown bear. The three of us: thumb, blanket, and bear were inseparable. That is until one Sunday morning I awoke in a panic. My bear and blanket were nowhere to be seen. I rummaged through every closet, every drawer, I even went through the trash and my backyard sandbox, all to no avail. My mother soothed me, my father harumphed, but both denied any knowledge of either my bear or my blanket's whereabouts. They just simply vanished. I was crestfallen, crushed, sobbing. Sucking my thumb no longer did it for me, not without my blankie or my bear. No, that period of my life seemed over and soon to be replaced with a mouth full of cutting, silver wires, and a flesh-colored headband to force my jaw back where it belonged. That was 60 years ago. Last week I sat with my 6-year-old grandson Henry while his dad cooked us dinner. "Papa," he whispered as he snuggled closer. "Tell me something secret about you." I told Henry about my bear and how years later I figured out my Mom had thrown it away. He was horrified at the thought and wanted to know if I still missed that brown, furry, round-eared stuffed animal. "I do," I said. "I still miss my bear," and that was the truth. And yesterday Henry asked his father Lon if they could come by the house early before school. "Papa," he said, "I have a surprise for you." "Oh?" I beamed. "I got you a new bear and it's just like the one your Mom threw away. When we have our next sleepover I'll bring my Bear-Bear and give you yours." I don't think any person in my life has been that kind to me, ever. I'll bet I get a good night's sleep.
Back to blog
Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

Never miss a post


Related Posts