In childhood there are events that shape us, change us and are often the first flutter of our life beliefs forming. One of the most profound moments in my childhood actually came about because of a pair of dolls knickers and has taught me life lesson I have never ever forgotten.
At a very short age (not sure of the numerical age, I can just remember my world perspective as being surrounded with legs), my Mother and I were walking along a very busy pavement in a local market town. Mum had a firm grip on my hand and in the other hand, was my beloved rag doll Jemima, dangling in the traditional way a small child can hold a toy. She was my pride and joy, a copy of the Play School rag doll that my Mum had made for me. She had a blue and white spotted dress and knickers to match.
If any of you remember the doll she had long arms and legs, with not so much in the way of hips. Which unfortunately meant she had a habit of losing her knickers. Who knew that a child’s toy could be such a jezabelle!
Now as I said before it was really busy. In the rush, and being so small I got knocked about a bit in the bustle. I can remember clearly seeing a man in a blue suit striding towards me. He of course hadn’t noticed me, bashed into me and I went flying. So did Jemima. So did the knickers. The suited man looked down at me, made a frustrated tch sound and walked on his way.
A kind voice beside me helped me up and handed me Jemima. The voice was accompanied by the biggest pink Mohawk I have seen to this day (it was the 80s) , a smiling face full of piercings and a leather jacket covered in patches and safety pins. Scary looking but smiley. He popped me on my feet, dusted me off and gave me to my Mum. We walked off only a few minutes later to have said punk running after me holding Jemima’s lost knickers. (He too was obviously a Play School fan too.)
I don’t remember this part but my Mum has told me (countless times) that I turned to her and said “Isn’t it funny Mummy. The man that looked nice was nasty. And the man that looked nasty was nice.” In that moment I learnt two of the most important lessons in my life. That kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and that people’s appearance doesn’t always reflect their inner personality.
According to my Mum this was around 36 years ago and yet I can remember it as though it was yesterday. (I still own Jemima and her knickers too. )It’s amazing the impact these moments can make in our lives. A moment of truly seeing the inner person. An act of kindness,no matter how small, can make a huge difference in the world.
So I challenge you this weekend. Go out and do one small act of kindness for a stranger. Make an impact and send a ripple of positive kindness out into the world.
You never know whose life you may change, even if you are punk holding a pair of dolls knickers…