Children and youth can be an amazing force for good in the world. Here are some kind acts I have witnessed children do as they spread goodness.
Teaching children to share at a young age becomes a part of who they are. I saw an example of this during my son's basketball game. My son is just learning to play basketball and doesn't always get the ball in the basket. There are several boys on the team who have played since they were very young and are good at it. As I watched the game, there were two boys on the team who would make sure my son got a turn at shooting, even when they would have had an opportunity to take the shot themselves. Because of their kindness, my son made two shots and came home feeling wonderful.
There is so much need in the world, and our children can see it. What's even more remarkable is that they are responding to it. I have a daughter who is constantly asking what she can do to help. When our neighborhood flooded, the first people out going door to door, making sure everyone was OK were some young men in the neighborhood. Our children recognize need, and they are filling it without being asked.
Children have an innate desire to love. The most touching example of this is in two teenaged girls in my neighborhood. One is mentally handicapped, and one is not, but they are best friends. The girl who is handicapped is sweet, beautiful and glows with the spirit of God. Her friend is beautiful and talented and could be friends with anyone, but she loves this sweet handicapped girl with all her heart and spends all her time with her. Their faces light up when they are together. They truly share a bond of love that few people will ever know. Love is a remarkable thing, and our children are filled with it.
Giving isn't always easy, but I see, time and time again, a willingness in my children to give what is theirs to make someone else happy. For example, my son loves playing a card game with his friend but my son's friend didn't have a very strong deck. My son wanted to make sure playing was fun for both of them and that his friend had just as much opportunity to win as he did, so he gave him three of his strongest cards. Giving up their possessions is an extraordinary act of goodness in our children.
Children have the ability to remind us of the things that are most important. A few years ago, when I was in charge of the children's organization in my local church, I was having a difficult Sunday. A young girl handed me a note with my name on it that simply said, "Where love is, there you are." I have kept that note in a safe place because it reminds me that even when we don't believe it, we are impacting the lives of the children around us. In return, they are lifting us in our time of need.
I love watching children encourage one another. Whether it's helping with homework or giving words of encouragement to help a sibling overcome a fear or try something new, a child's encouragement is beautiful. My son's teammates are wonderful at encouraging. They are always calling to make sure he knows he is not only welcome, but wanted. When he is there, they give him a high-five, even when he tries and doesn't always succeed. It is humbling to me to see the love and encouragement that comes from such young boys.
Our children are full of faith. If faith can move mountains, our children can literally change the world. I have witnessed the faith of the youth today, and I am amazed by their resilience and ability to believe in the power of God to deliver them. They stand strong in their faith as the whirlwinds rush around them.
One of my favorite examples of believing is when my son was young and potty training. He prayed every day that God would help him keep his underwear dry. One day, my oldest son turned to him and said, "Why do you keep praying for that? You always keep your underwear dry." To which my younger son responded, "Duh! That's because I pray for it!" Our children pray because they know it is God who carries them and that it is his strength that allows them to do all things. They pray not only for their welfare, but for the welfare of those around them, and they believe with all their heart that God listens and will answer them.
If we take the time to recognize the little things, we will truly see all the goodness our children are doing, and our lives will be blessed for it.