“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Fred Rogers – aka Mister Rogers
It’s been a difficult holiday this year, no matter what you were celebrating. Tragedy has marred a season that is meant to be marked by love, joy and forgiveness. Our sorrow is embodied most tragically in the children and their advocates at Sandy Hook Elementary. I have no words of wisdom for the world, and certainly nothing new to say.
I picked up my son from school the day before the Mayan End of the World, and found him pretty upset and depressed. My kid is 18, but I didn’t get to know him until he was 11 when he entered my life. (His adoption deepens the mystery of the teenage soul.) Time in the car is the time to talk, so I opened a conversation about the impending end of the world. My boy had absorbed some concern I thought, from media, his friends, or from me gleefully lampooning when I should have been listening.
At any rate, I offered up some NPR pablum – the pseudo-wisdom of the pseudo-Mayan scholars. “The end of the world just means a new planetary alignment, and the stars say that people will become kinder and better.” Yada yada – says Mom.
My child told me that he had no faith in human beings, Mayan prophecy and NPR be damned. He was feeling simply beaten by the cruelty and viciousness and utter disregard that man shows to man. True that. He surely knows this first hand.
I confess that in the moment, I had nothing of value to say. This child has few reasons to believe in the decency of human beings and their capacity to be kind, and too much experience with the distaff side.
And then, Mr. Rogers came back to me. There are helpers in the world, and they exist in our midst. They weave their magic every day… right here in Kansas City Missouri. In my life, in Christopher’s life and in yours. Look for the helpers, and be one too!
#26 acts of kindness.