On Sunday, I spent a few hours with my family at the town pool. We were sitting at our picnic table when we spotted a couple dollar bills blowing by on the concrete. It was a windy day, and most likely a kid on his back from the snack bar lost hold of the money. My husband and 6-year-old son picked it up and became very focused on what to do with the money. They went around to a couple groups sitting nearby to see if the $2 belonged to them. They thought about turning it in at the front desk, but given the small sum, decided it was unlikely anybody would come looking for it.
I went to the locker room to get my daughter changed. When we returned, they told me they went over to the snack bar-- and put the $2 into the tip jar for the workers. Wow-- what a great idea! My husband no doubt emphasized how the money did not belong to us, and the workers at the snack bar would be happy and appreciative of the extra $2. I was proud of them, my husband for being so steadfastly moral (I was ready to just keep it), and my son for being right there with him, 100% interested and focused on what to do with that money.
Later that night, when I was putting my son to bed, I noticed a couple bills folded up in my top dresser drawer. Folded into small squares, it was clear they had come from my son's piggy bank. I went into his bedroom and showed him the bills. He had me unfold them. He said the $20 was for Daddy, and $5 was for me (good call, as Daddy certainly deserved the $20). With a smile, he said he left it there to make us happy.
Maybe our son is listening, observing, and remembering all the lessons we are trying to teach him.
We do not take, or keep, things that do not belong to us.
We should seize every opportunity to help others and brighten their day.
Other people's feelings matter, not just our own.
Doing the right thing is important, no matter whether it is $2, or $20 (2 minutes or "20 minutes," for that matter). Doing the right thing matters, no matter how small the act may seem.
Parents of daughters, do not worry. There are awesome fathers out there who seize every opportunity to show their sons how to respectful, kind, compassionate men. I am lucky to be married to one of them.