By Scott Myers
I was out for a walk with my dog and my daughter the other day when I saw a young boy, no older than 10. He was sitting on the ground, placing rocks in the cracks of the sidewalk. I knew this sidewalk well; I run it every other day and have to be mindful that my stride does not land me on top of the three inch heave that runs from one side of the crack to the other.
My neighbors and I had separately expressed our concern to the city over the quality of the sidewalk, and we were hopeful that some type of permanent fix would be coming soon.
I asked the boy what he was doing. He stood up as I got closer, ever so politely and respectfully, and replied with a heartfelt, “I want to make sure you don’t trip over the crack next time you run by my house.”
This boy, someone I had perhaps seen in passing, but did not know yet, had the heart not only to go out of his way to protect his neighbor, but help someone he had never met before in the best way he knew how. Struck by his compassion, I asked my daughter to go gather some small rocks nearby. We all sat down to fix the sidewalk—a shared goal that now bound us together.
We made quick work of the task. Though it may not have been the permanent solution our community had in mind, I was so appreciative of this young boy’s work at best self.
When his parents came out to check on him from the backyard, my thanks to them for instilling in their son such a sense of community-minded care was obviously music to their ears. It was a strong desire, they said, to instill in their children the aspiration to be their best selves, all the time.
Wait what? You mean My own self, At my very best, All the time?
As we get ready to enter the Thanksgiving season, let us not forget that gratitude need not (and should not!) be limited to the holidays. It is a way of life and a way of best self.
Thank you to all whom continue to support the American Youth Foundation, giving back time, talent, and treasure. Happy holidays!