A Kind Act for a Boy with Autism
we can all do something kind for others
I recently heard a story on the news about a young boy with autism who has a special affinity for the American flag. The boy sits and gazes for hours at the family’s flag, shifting and moving with the breeze. He cannot take his eyes off of it — he is so filled with wonder.
While on family walks the boy stops to admire a neighbor’s flag and stares with wide-eyed amazement at the flag teetering on its pole. The neighbor noticed. He used his carpentry skills to craft a small bench for the boy and wood-burned his name on it so the boy would have a place to sit and stare up at the stars and stripes.
The story truly moved me.
Man Crafts Special Gift for Young Neighbor With Autism Enchanted by the American Flag
Many patriotic Americans can appreciate the sight of the star-spangled banner flying high in the sky-but perhaps not as…
We ALL deserve the dignity of human kindness.
The Compassionate Action Network gave some great advice on their website (https://www.compassionateactionnetwork.org/science-of-compassion) on how to incorporate compassion into our daily lives, based on research by Stanford and Emory Universities:
- Find similarities: Seeing yourself as similar to others increases feelings of compassion. One recent study shows that simply tapping your fingers to the same rhythm as a stranger increases compassionate behavior.
- See people as individuals rather than abstractions: When asked to support an anti-hunger charity, people were more likely to give money after reading a story about one particular starving girl than after reading statistics on starvation.
- Believe in your power to do good: When we believe we’re able to make a difference, we’re less likely to suppress our feelings of compassion.
- Notice how good compassion feels: Studies show that compassion and compassionate action activate the brain’s reward center.
- For parents, teachers, and caregivers: Research suggests that compassion is contagious, so if you want to help teach and cultivate compassion in children, the best practice is to lead by your own example.
Today when you inter-mingle in your town, at work, in your family, and online, how about a little more than the half-hearted hello? How about holding the door, offering to help someone with their groceries, help someone who is having a difficult time getting out of their chair?
Maybe you can find something nice to say to someone to whom you normally wouldn’t even consider speaking? Try finding common ground with people who you don’t normally associate with, looking up from your phone long enough to engage in a polite conversation. Try giving extra time to consider the opinions of others while reserving judgment. Try setting aside differences and deciding that it is ok to disagree and still both be deserving of respect and dignity?
How about treating each other with a little extra dose of kindness today? How about just smiling at someone who looks like they might just need a smile and a little acknowledgment?
I leave you with the thoughts of one of the kindest souls to ever walk this beautiful earth:
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
— Mother Teresa