What Grandpa’s Teach Us About Kindness

What Grandpa’s Teach Us About Kindness

I had a bizarre dream last night. I could fly.

And then while flying, somewhere in the dream, I met my Grandpa, who passed away a few years ago. We hugged, that’s all I remember. I woke up, feeling so full-of-heart, and yet so heart-sore for that dreamed-up hug.

As a child, I would lie with my head on Grandpa’s round belly, listening to the squeaks and gurgling sounds that his tummy would make, listen to his heartbeat, and the way his voice would resonate while he talked. Sometimes I’d look up and marvel how long his ears had grown. He would stroke my hair while I slept, or pretended to sleep. It’s one of the things I miss most about my childhood, falling asleep on that noisy, warm, loving pillow.

My Grandpa gave good hugs. After last night’s dream, I remember that well. Giving it some thought, I realize that what made his hugs so special – besides the fact that he was a Grandpa – was that he gave hugs. He never “took” hugs; it was never about him. They were the kind of hug where you walked away feeling as though you have received a gift, and lost nothing.

Of course, Grandpa did receive a hug in return for each one he gave – that is the nature of a hug. And the nature of many things in life; but I’d say that in a world consumed by selfishness, blind ambition and arrogance, I think we need to pay more attention to small kindnesses, expecting nothing in return, like real Grandpa-hugs, and sincerely asking how someone is doing.

I’m just tired of mean people, and think we could all contribute to the world far better with graciousness and human warmth. And hugs. Definitely hugs.

Music credit – Every Day, by Dave Matthews Band

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