My daughter is at it again. When we were packing up to come home from our ski trip this weekend, she found a quarter on the floor of our hotel room and asked if we could give the cleaning people a tip, and I said of course we could. So she began to write “For the Housekeeper” on a paper so she could leave this quarter for them. When my husband saw that she was trying to tip the cleaning people only a quarter, he told her she should not do that because it would be insulting. From an adult, it probably would be. But I quickly pointed out that a quarter coming from a young child with this intention in her heart is not insulting at all. In fact, I would think it would make their day that she would be so grateful for their hard work. I am quite certain that the housekeeping staff at hotels rarely gets any positive feedback for all of their necessary-but not-that-much-fun work. So I simply suggested she write them a note and sign her name and her age at the bottom and this is what she came up with:
Thank you for cleaning my room. You did a very nice job.
Faith, Age 8
Wow is all I can say to this. I do not teach her this stuff: She was born with it. She has such a warm, loving and generous heart. And I do not share this story to boast about her actions. I simply share it to remind us all that there are so many ways to spread joy in the world everywhere we go, and it can sometimes be so very simple, if we would just take the time to feel the gratitude for the small blessings in our lives. As we left the hotel that morning, I told Faith that one of the best parts of giving is the joy we feel in our own hearts when we imagine how good our actions make that other person feel. Even though she was not going to be there when the housekeeping staff showed up in our room that morning, she could still feel the joy in imagining their faces when they discovered her small but very generous and thoughtful gift.
Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999 wrote in her journal “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” Rachel was so wise and so young and the world lost a beautiful light on the day she died. So today, let’s test out her theory. Can we each think of one way, big or small, that we can show compassion to someone else today?
I would love for each of you to respond here with your stories so that we can all inspire each other to help make the world just a little bit nicer.