Two different events happened over the last week that had me thinking.
The first happened as my 10-year-old son and I were exiting a local golf course pro shop. He went out of his way to stop and hold the door for a couple walking in. He did it kind of naturally and I was able to see it. I gave him a quick fist bump and thanked him for thinking of others.
A few days later, the two of us were on our way into a gas station and a man was following behind us. He was carrying some cans to turn in for deposit. My son was behind me and had the chance to hold the door for the gentlemen, but didn’t. I didn’t think much of it, other than I was disappointed, as we were in a hurry and I didn’t say anything.
Today, that had me thinking. Why did he choose to do it one time and not the other? Had I appropriately modeled and positively reinforced it enough? But above and beyond that, why was it so important to me? Out of all the things we worry about and focus on as a parent, what is it about holding a door for a complete stranger that is so important to me?
I did some research. I wanted to find out more about holding the door for others. As usual, there was way more than I needed. I found out that around the 1600’s doors were often held for women and that was more due to the wardrobe they had on. I’m not going to get too far into the chivalry aspect, although I’ll take any chance I can get to teach my son to respect women. I learned that some people think 14 feet is the appropriate length away from the door that you should offer to hold it for someone. OK, all of that was more than I needed.
It’s so important for me because the kid (or adult for that matter) who holds the door carries the mindset I want the kids at my home, and the 340 kids at our school, to have at all times.
- It’s the mindset of always thinking about helping others
- It’s the mindset that I’m a very small part of this big Earth
- It’s saying to someone, without saying anything, you matter to me and even though I don’t know you, I’ll do something to help you
- It’s the mindset that small things matter, especially if done over and over
- It’s the giving mindset, instead of the taking
So, what next? Well, instead of giving my son positive affirmation for whether or not he catches a touchdown or gets a sack this weekend, I’ll do a better job focusing on something under his control. Something that positively impacts others. I’ll do a better job of letting him know why it’s important to me and needs to be important to him. I will also model it as consistently as possible. As parents, we want all kinds of things for our kids. Right now, I just want my son to be the kid who always holds the door.