There was a boy named Chance who met me many mornings as I entered my workplace some years ago. He was an unkept child, with shoes or boots that always appeared too small depending on the season, and hair outgrown hanging in his eyes. Often there were stains on his face of his dinner from the night before. Orange coloured, was it spaghetti sauce? something that came out of a can? The dried stains added some depth to his pale, freckled face.
Chance was not a shy boy in spite of the neglect he seemed to come from, he loved to talk. He’d be standing on the sidewalk in front of the school and chattered continuously as we walked to the side entrance that I used. He offered to carry my lunch-bag, my box of papers, and any miscellaneous items I was carrying each morning.
One day after several weeks, Chance laughingly said that I should pay him for helping me. I was speechless, the bravado of this child took me back to my childhood when children did not voice what was on their minds. And definitely not encouraged to ask for something so directly.
I fumbled a reply to Chance that day, threw out a platitude that helping someone should come without expecting a reward. I remember telling him that if he helped someone he would feel the happiness of doing a good thing. I’m not sure he understood, but after not seeing him the next few days, where he was one morning ready to help again with what I carried.
I’ve thought of Chance over the years, he’d be an adult now and wondered what he thought about our conversation that day. I couldn’t tell him that life isn’t fair, that doing the right thing takes courage, and isn’t always rewarded.
This morning when I was on my walk, I stepped carefully off the path to allow safe distance for anyone approaching me. Why did most people not acknowledge, nod, or smile?
And that’s when Chance entered my mind. I think about reward and how all of us like to get it. (Tweet This)
How could I have thought that a child would understand when even now as adults, we still want to be thanked and admired for our big-hearted kindness? Why don’t others know that we are a super-wonderful-kind person and should be appropriately rewarded?
- We might listen to a friend’s complaining for years, and then be re-buffed by them when we finally give them an honest opinion.
- Or lend someone our truck to help them to move, and get it back with an empty tank of gas.
- We may run errands for someone and then not even be offered a cup of coffee.
Even in the simple act of a little thing on a walking path, we take a chance, there might not be a reward. And the expectation we didn’t know we had can come tumbling down.
In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
It’s very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements
in comparison with what we owe to others.
Oh how we all forget sometimes just to do the right thing.
Stay well, stay kind.