While walking into Target Saturday morning, I was walking a little behind a father who was carrying his young son. As they got within a couple of feet of the door, the son reached back over his father’s shoulder toward the giant red balls near the curb. The father turned away from the door, walked over to one of the balls and leaned his son over so the child could touch it. Then he raised him up and, with smiles on both their faces, they walked inside.
It was such a simple gesture, but one that made me smile as well.
I immediately thought how easy it would have been for the dad to be in a hurry and dismiss the boy’s wish to go back and touch one of the balls. But he didn’t. In that split second he
- had the sensitivity to recognize what would benefit someone else, and
- chose to go the extra steps for the other person.
How many times during the course of our day do we have an unexpected thought about something we might do at that moment for the good of someone else? How many of those times do we keep on our predetermined path and let the opportunity pass?
This is not to say that we must take every detour that comes to mind and risk never making our planned destination. But it is to say that brief moments of saying “yes” to those random acts of kindness may be among the most memorable things we do that day in the eyes of others. Maybe they are the destination some days and we don’t know it.
So today’s lesson is about doing a little more than the minimum as we go about our day. It’s about listening to the still, small voice within, and being willing to put our other plans on hold just long enough to serve someone else. Perhaps it will make their day. It only takes a moment and if we don’t act immediately that chance is forever gone.
Leap year lesson #7: Go the extra mile (or step).