Inherent goodness

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Little moments trump big moments. It’s true, and anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t had his life touched by enough small things to know better.

I mean, I love huge concerts at Madison Square Garden. But I prefer gigs with 50 attendees. I’ve enjoyed many World Series Game 7s. But I’ll take Brewers-Cubs on a sunny July at Wrigley any day of the week. Again, too often we tend to over-hype the enormous while overlooking the minutia.

Which leads me to something that happened earlier today …

My son is 8, and attends Hebrew school every Sunday morning. We usually pick him up at noon, then go about our lives. Today, however, the synagogue was having a post-Hebrew school fun day. For $10, your kids could stay and enjoy one of those enormous slides along with pizza and juice. Emmett told us he was interested, so we signed up. I arrived at noon, armed with a change of clothes, and escorted him back to the slide.

Well, we get there and it’s … sad. One kid, a guy putting up the slide, two boxes of pizza on a sidewalk. I mean, it was just pathetic—in that nothing-worked-out sort of way. Emmett stood there, staring, and I presumed he’d turn to me and say, “Can we see The Avengers instead?” In fact, I broke the silence by saying, “Emmett, we don’t have to stick. You wanna go to the movies?”

To my shock, he didn’t immediately agree. He looked toward me with saddened eyes and said, “I just feel so bad for them.”

“Well,” I said, “what do you want to do?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just really feel so bad.”

The boy is 8.

With my assurances that it was OK (I explained to him that his emotions were correct; but that he didn’t have to do the slide), we finally left. But he was genuinely despondent, in a way that lifted my spirits and made me proud of a kid who rightly identified the awkward emotions of a confusing situation.

It was one of the proudest moments in my years as a parent.

And it lasted all of three minutes.