After a recent school field trip, my son said something to me, something so basic and yet profound, that made me think that sometimes, all we need to do is show up, caring for the people in our lives.
My son took a field trip to a local farm with his kindergarten classroom, and because he’s in a pre-K through 8th grade school, the preschoolers went along with them. The school is good about teaching responsibility and fostering kindness, and so, my son has a preschool buddy with whom he is paired on occasions such as these. A natural older brother, my son took his job with his preschool buddy quite seriously and told me all about it. Even though the trip was to a farm and they picked pumpkins, went on a hayride, and saw baby bunnies, when he told me about the trip, he mostly told me about his preschool buddy.
On the ride home from the farm, his preschool buddy fell asleep and my son gave him his sweatshirt on which to rest his head. I told him how nice he was to his preschool buddy. He looked at me and said, “Mama, I just took care of him because he needed me.” He said it matter-of-factly, like caring for our friends is the most basic thing in the world.
He showed up for his preschool buddy and he took care of him because he simply needed to. He did it without question or consideration for how he, himself, might feel if he were still in preschool.
In the sometimes self-absorbed world we live in, taking care of people can be a blessing, not only to them but to us. My son reminded me of this with his simple statement and the pride in his voice. He felt rewarded for taking care of his friend.
We all feel bogged down sometimes with our own trials, fears, or insecurities. But being available for someone else might just be the push we need to gain perspective on the beauty in our lives. It doesn’t take very long to send a text to check in on a friend and say you care. It takes just a minute to cut a few flowers from the garden, stick them in a mason jar, and walk around the corner to deliver them to a neighbor who just might need a pick-me-up. Simple, caring gestures to say I’m here for you because you need me. You are my people.
The field trip to the farm provided my son with a lesson it seems that he already knows: we care for people when they need us. We call them our people. We give them our sweatshirts or And, I’m thankful that he reminded me of this and of the value in caring for others.