Monday, February 11, 2013

Loving People You Don't Even Know

When my 5-year-old niece asked how long we were going to stay at her house (she likes to play with her cousin Monkey) I told her we had to leave to visit Grandpa Bahlmann. "Who's Grandpa Bahlmann?" she asked. I explained that he was Monkey's grandpa, and he was in the hospital, so we were going to go see him. My niece's face fell. Looking up at me with concern in her round blue eyes, she asked, "Do you think he'd like a heart?"
"I think he'd love a heart," I replied.
So she got busy with her markers and scissors and made a grandpa that she didn't even know two hearts in the hope that they would make him feel better.
My niece's selfless action was quite touching. I would expect most 5-year-olds to just shrug off an unknown grandpa. But this little girl put her energy into sharing love. When we left, she said, "I hope Grandpa Bahlmann gets better."
When we passed along the hearts to Grandpa, he laughed with delight. We left them on his hospital bedside stand where he could look at them any time he wanted to.
This type of unexpected warm, fuzzy behavior is a good element to include with characters in a story. It helps readers relate to them and care more about them.
It's even better to include this element in real life. What plans do you have to show love this Valentine's Day?

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