Mom was taken aback. She let him stay in the car but says, “It was hard to concentrate on my shopping. My son was turning into a snob.” The outing embarrassed Marc and worried Mom, who fretted she was raising a spoiled and entitled teen.
Shortly after that incident, life changed at our house. Mom was eager for Marc to see that we were very lucky. She dragged him along when she went to see the immigrant families whom she supported with small gifts and acts of kindness.
Teaching children how easy it is to make a difference
One of these homes belonged to the Chan family from Hong Kong. Mrs. Chan had a girl and three boys, and her daughter was in Mom’s class at school. Aware that they were struggling, Mom got to know the family and did what she could. From time to time, the Chans joined us for dinner and on family outings. We took them gifts at Christmas, likely the only ones they received.
But as he sat there he started to pay closer attention. He noticed that the children were in their fanciest clothing and on their best behaviour. The cookies before him were clearly a luxury. It dawned on him that the visit that seemed meaningless to him was of great importance to Mrs. Chan.
Mom presented the gifts, which were accepted gratefully. Then Mrs. Chan handed a small present to Marc. “You are our best friends,” she said in broken English. “And best friends are so important to us. Thank you.” The words, which Marc will never forget, cut through his cool veneer. He realized Mom’s kindness, time and caring meant the world to these isolated and impoverished newcomers. He marvelled at how easy it had been to make a difference.
Page 1 of 3--On page 2: How you can raise empathetic kids