It always makes me happy when I see people being kind to children. Yesterday I was on the subway on my way home from work when a mother and her young daughter came aboard at the stop just before mine and sat across from me. An other woman came and sat to my right. The daughter was tired and cranky. Her mother wanted to put lip balm on her daughter's dry, cracked lips and she wanted none of that. She started to cry that "I've played too hard today and I'm too tired to be tired" cry. She leaned her head back and whined softly. Her mother was patient and probably tired herself. She let it go.
Shortly afterward the little girl noticed that the woman across from me was reading a book and had just moved her bookmark to the back of the book while she picked up reading where she had left off. The little girl asked her what the bookmark was. The woman immediately stopped reading, took the bookmark out and turned it so the little girl could see the picture on it. It's an Indian," she said. The little girl's entire face brightened up, obviously delighted with the Indian on the bookmark, but she had never seen a bookmark and inquired further. The woman started to explain that the bookmark would mark her place when she stopped reading so that when she began again she wouldn't have to start all over. The little girl was beyond fascinated and her eyes smiled with joy.
Before I was able to hear the rest of the conversation the train had come to my stop and I had to exit. It was probably a quick, two-minute exchange that I witnessed between the stranger and the little girl but it warmed my heart. The woman who had sat next to me was kind to the little girl, genuinely kind. Children deserve all the love and kindness in the world. Give them that and a pinch of discipline and they will be ready to take on anything. I smiled to myself as I walked home, remembering the expression of sheer joy on the little girl's face.