Saying “Hello,” Being Kind! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another year older, another year flown by. I think about my children, and remember. I think about the little ones in preschool, and get nostalgic. Another school year comes to a close. The promise of summer vacation lies ahead. Have fun, little ones! Be happy, my children, now not so little.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

Suffer the Children - von Uhde, 1884

Suffer the Children – von Uhde, 1884

I love small children. I loved it when my children were small, and I could take them to the park, the beach, the playground. We would have such adventures! The smallest things captured their interest, and became the topics of deep discussion. Like a busy little ant nest next to the sidewalk. I remember one of my preschool-age daughters squatting down and examining it so closely, and for so long! We talked about that ant nest for some time afterwards.

Another time, I remember two of my children (I think one in kindergarten, the other in preschool) as they laughed and splashed in the outside shower, at the beach house near our condo. Simple pleasures. They spent a good long time having fun in the open air shower! I was relaxed and unhurried, and I enjoyed watching them having a great time.

Now my children are grown. (And almost grown—with my youngest at seventeen.) New ages, new adventures, new challenges.

But I still enjoy small children. I have the opportunity to see preschool aged children almost every day. At my work, the building houses a preschool that provides daycare, preschool and kindergarten for several dozen children each day. So, I get to see the children in the halls. In the bathroom. Outside in the playground. All around the church.

“Pastor Elizabeth! There’s Pastor Elizabeth!” And sometimes one or two of the braver ones ask me, “What do you do here?” and “Where do you stay when you’re here?” I laugh and tell them I am working here at church. “But this is our school!” I nod and say, “Yes, and my office is right around the corner, too!” I get happy “hellos!” and random hugs around the knees. And I say “hello!” right back!

I’m reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples and other followers in the Gospel of Matthew—He said that the little children had an open invitation to come to Him! There were some adults who wanted to keep them (and their mothers) away from Jesus—such an important Rabbi couldn’t be bothered with children, after all!

Jesus corrected the adults’ fallacy, and went ahead and welcomed small children. Then—Jesus laid hands on the children and blessed them. How awesome is that?

I want to follow Jesus’ example, whenever I can. Imagine, welcoming children, being friends with them, and encouraging and caring for them. And—their responses are so honest, loving and genuine! God willing, I’ll be able to continue to say “Hello!” for a long time. What a chance to be kind, loving, and caring. Thanks, God, for this awesome opportunity!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 29, 2014

Suffer the children Fritz von Uhde, 1884

Suffer the children
Fritz von Uhde, 1884

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

I love small children. I loved it when my children were small, and I could take them to the park, the beach, the playground. We would have such adventures! The smallest things captured their interest, and became the topics of deep discussion. Like a busy little ant nest next to the sidewalk. I remember one of my preschool-age daughters squatting down and examining it so closely, and for so long! We talked about that ant nest for some time afterwards. And another time, I remember two of my children (one in kindergarten I think, the other in preschool) as they laughed and splashed in the outside shower, at the beach house near our condo. Simple pleasures. They spent a good long time having fun in the open air shower! I was relaxed and unhurried, and I enjoyed watching them having a great time.

Now my children are grown. (And almost grown—with my youngest at seventeen.) New ages, new adventures, new challenges. But I still enjoy small children. I have the opportunity to see preschool aged children almost every day. At my work, the building houses a preschool that provides daycare, preschool and kindergarten for several dozen children each day. So, I get to see the children in the halls. In the bathroom. Outside in the playground. All around the church.

“Pastor Elizabeth! There’s Pastor Elizabeth!” And sometimes one or two of the braver ones ask me, “What do you do here?” and “Where do you stay when you’re here?” I laugh and tell them I am working here at church. “But this is our school!” I nod and say, “Yes, and my office is right around the corner, too!” I get happy “hellos!” and random hugs around the knees. And I say “hello!” right back!

I’m reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples and other followers in the Gospel of Matthew—He said that the little children had an open invitation to come to Him! There were some adults who wanted to keep them (and their mothers) away from Jesus—such an important Rabbi couldn’t be bothered with children, after all! But Jesus corrected the adults’ fallacy, and went ahead and welcomed small children. And then—Jesus laid hands on the children and blessed them. How awesome is that?

I want to follow Jesus’ example, whenever I can. Imagine, welcoming children, being friends with them, and encouraging and caring for them. And—their responses are so honest, loving and genuine! God willing, I’ll be able to continue to say “Hello!” for a long time. What a chance to be kind, loving, and caring. Thanks, God, for this awesome opportunity!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

An Act of Service and a New(ish) Friend

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An Act of Service and a New(ish) Friend

running person - clip art

running person – clip art

My son took special care in getting dressed this morning. He had his first gymnastics meet today, and the whole team dressed up for the occasion. So, dress slacks, oxford shirt, dress shoes, tie.  He was so proud to be all spiffed up! (I know—I saw him looking at his reflection in the mirror after tying his tie.)  And even though he didn’t say so, I suspect he was excited for the meet.

I dropped him off at the high school on my way to the YMCA. He stood on the sidewalk, and was all smiles as I waved to him.  He disappeared from my rear view mirror as I carefully threaded my way between the students and staff crossing the street. Yes, it was just another weekday morning, with just a slight variation.

As I’ve said before, I go to the gym several times a week. Today was one of those days. The Y is a familiar place, now. I’ve been there pretty much three times per week for the past five years. I don’t know most people’s names, but they often come to the gym about the same time. Being a naturally friendly person, I smile and sometimes say hello. This morning, I kept passing by people I recognized—so I was saying “hi” a lot.  As I went up to the track, I ran into a recent gym acquaintance. We did a few circuits around the track after I did some preliminary stretching.

My friend is a little older. A senior, and a moderately active one. My friend started telling me about the challenges of being a senior citizen—in an upbeat, uncomplaining way. Even humorous, at times. I listened, interested to hear about my friend’s viewpoints. But I also listened to some sadder stories. I heard about a few senior friends, who are not as physically active. For seniors, this can be very problematic. It’s circular. As people—and especially seniors—decrease in their activity level, they usually decrease in stamina and strength.  Which makes many even less willing to be active at all.

My mind shifted, remembering an older relative, now deceased. She broke her ankle a number of years ago, and the orthopedic surgeon needed to place several pieces of hardware into the joint. However, she was stubborn. She wouldn’t do physical therapy after surgery. It didn’t take too long for her to become more and more sedentary, which caused her to dislike physical activity more and more. Just like the other seniors I heard about today—decreasing in activity, stamina and strength, in a downward spiral.

What was my act of kindness today? I kept my friend company—and we went around the track together. I encouraged my friend in being physically active today, too. I gladly affirmed my senior friend for doing whatever they can, regularly, to the best of their ability. I delivered this act of service with enthusiasm! God, thanks for my friend. And, thanks for sending me a new service opportunity, today and every day.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.