Weigh in on this for me: Is it more fun to be a parent or grandparent?
I feel like I might know the answer based on the letters I received recently from some readers who make kindness a priority in the time they spend with their grandchildren.
Judi Sebeck, of Deerwood, Minn., sent in this story of kindness that almost went unnoticed.
“Our great-grandson, Caleb, is 8 years old. In his second grade class there is a boy named Carson who has Down syndrome.
"One day during lunch, Caleb noticed Carson was sitting alone at the table. Caleb asked if he could sit with him and Carson smiled and said, ‘Sure.’ Caleb has continued to do this, plus he helps Carson with his backpack and makes sure he gets on the right bus after school.
"Caleb's mother got a note from Carson's mom (she didn't know anything about what Caleb was doing) saying that Carson has a new friend and is so happy. She asked if Caleb could come over someday after school to play. If Carson's mom hadn’t taken the time to write that note, Caleb’s mom wouldn't have even known what Caleb is doing.
"As you can see there is still a lot of kindness and love in this world even from an 8-year-old boy. As great-grandparents, we are so proud of him.”
The kindness continues with this delightful story from Rhonda Thomas, of Rockville, Minn.
“I wanted to share a tiny, little act of kindness done by my granddaughter. Violet is 6 now. One of the many things she and Grandma like to do is paint and hide rocks so that others can find them and have a moment of joy! I'm pretty sure hiding them is even more fun than finding them for Violet, and she takes this RAK (random act of kindness) very seriously.
"We also travel our neighborhood each year to hand out May Day baskets and sometimes special treats just for fun. Teaching kindness is wonderful, but doing kindness is even more effective. So, I'm delighted to share this little act of kindness that my daughter, Carly (Violet’s mom), shared with me.
"As Violet was getting ready for school, Carly noticed that she put an extra pair of mittens in her backpack. Carly asked her why she needed to bring an extra pair that morning and Violet told her, ‘Mom, some kids at school don't have mittens and their hands get so cold, but they are too shy to tell the teacher. So I'm bringing an extra pair for them.’ Tiny little gesture, from a tiny little girl who understands kindness!
"I am thrilled for my little Violet, because I see her being kind. Is there anything better that a grandma could see in a child? It excites me, moves me, thrills me and gives me much, much, hope that kindness is contagious!"
I’ve heard of proud parents, but what fun to be a proud grandparent or great-grandparent as well!
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.