Linda Taylor signed up to participate in one of my online kindness classes back in 2009, soon after a Seattle Times article about them was picked up and published in newspapers all over North America. She’s been the most consistent participant since. I daresay she has been involved in pretty much every online kindness offering I’ve presented since 2009.
So, of course, Linda is participating in the current kindness initiative I’m promoting via the Kind Living website and eNewsletter. She recently wrote to me privately about how the ongoing class is providing her some things to consider as she and her husband pursue their retirement. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested participants consider an online article about how to apply the Golden Rule to their lives.
Linda was taken by the suggestion that people “Be a Child.” Quoting the article, “The urge to control and criticize is especially strong when we are adults dealing with children. In some cases, it’s necessary, of course: you don’t want the child to hurt himself, for example. But in most cases, it’s not. Put yourself in the shoes of that child. Remember what it was like to be a child, and to be criticized and controlled. You probably didn’t like it. How would you want to be treated if you were that child?”
In response, Linda sent this message to me, along with the photos I’m using to illustrate this post, “For the last two and a half years I have watched two of our neighbor children, age 7 and 5 now, who have a heavy, busy schedule as both parents work full time. Their mother once threatened they could not come see me, IF something or other was not done. I asked her not to do that as I felt the children really enjoy coming to us, who treat them like our great grandchildren, which we have yet to have! They do not have grandparents here and they give us great joy, but when they come I completely focus on them and always give them options of what we could do during their visit. Sometimes it is something familiar, other times it is an old game we have not played or a book we have not read for a long time. My goal is to have the children be relaxed and happy, partially because they have such a hectic schedule always! They do not have much down time!”
What a wonderful thing it is to connect elders in a community to youth. I greatly appreciate what Linda has to say here, and hope her wisdom can inspire others. She wrapped up her email to me by saying this, “I feel blessed to have them in my life and sometimes when one cannot come, the other gets upset if they do not get a special visit alone with me and Tommy. Our lives are greatly enriched by their visits and we get to be kids again too – just doing what our little neighbors want to do!”
That’s what I call a win-win situation!