When you make a promise to yourself, you should probably keep it. Years ago, I promised myself two things. I would always stop to help a turtle across the street, and I’d always stop and buy lemonade from a child with a lemonade stand — no matter where were going or how much of a rush we were in.
Once, I didn’t stop for a turtle.. because we were late wherever we were going, and it bothered me for days. I swore to myself then, that unless I was somewhere on a matter of a life on death, I would always stop.
So today, we’re on our way out to do some errands, and we pass a small kids’ table with some items on it, and two kids, a boy 11, and a girl 9, holding up a chalkboard with something written on it.
First thing I said (outloud) was "I didn’t see that.". I was trying to lie to myself that I didn’t just see a lemonade stand, because we had somewhere to be. It took about 5 seconds to remember my own promise, and turn down a side street to head back. Jean saked me if I had seen the sign, and I said no. I was just heading back for the lemonade. She said their chalkboard read "Katrina Relief".
They weren’t, in fact, selling lemoade. Instead, these two children had taken some of their own toys and created a yard sale in order to raise money to help those in need from the hurricane. When we realized this, it was that much more touching, and we were really glad that we bothered to turn around.
Now, there was only about a dozen items, and nothing we wanted. But I got out and gave them a donation, nonetheless. You should have seen the smile on thier faces as I approached the donation jar. I told them that I was really proud of them, and it was a good thing that they were doing and to keep up the good work. They both smiled, and the boy immediately went back out in the street to wave his chalkboard around and get someone else to stop.
Their mom came from the back yard, and was smiling at us as I talked to her kids. I told her that she had a great pair of children and she should be proud of them. She said that she was very proud of them, and thanked us for stopping.
I had just seen a news program the other day that was talking about how to deal with your children and explaining to them about the things they see on the news, especially when disasters like this happen. Obviously, this mother had such a discussion with her children, and this is how they felt they could be involved.
It may not have been a turtle or lemonade, but I guess I need to append my promise to myself to always stop when children are waving a sign at you, because you never know what it is.. and sometimes it’s something that you just don’t want to miss.