So, like many of you, this morning I was making my nearly daily run through the Starbucks drive-thru with two reasonably happy, lucky me, boys. I was in a great mood. The holidays are around the corner. Boys were laughing and we were headed to see some of our favorite people for OmCulture’s open kids “gym”.

When I rounded the corner to pick up and pay for my delicious mocha, the cashier said that my drink had been paid for by the driver ahead of me. Very cool. He also told me that I was the 12th car in a row to do so. So, of course, I then paid for the car behind me.

Teaching Kids Compassion

The best part? Well, my 2.5-year-old paid attention to the whole scene. He asked me about it after we drove off. That was a learning and teaching moment for us. He is going to grow up to be a kind and generous human being. I know that much. So to be able to start showing him, giving him examples, and having him understand the concept was a defining moment for me.

Okay, so we’re talking about coffee but there was something bigger happening. I know, I feel silly even writing it but I live in Seattle and during rainy winter days feeling close to neighbors is not easy to come by. Today, though, I felt close to my neighbors. I felt their warmth and their support. And it was just a coffee.

Imagine the possibilities…

The incident reminded me of when my best friend, Jessie, twin sister, Meg and I used to pay the toll of the car behind us every so often. We grew up in Maine, there are tolls all over the place for the highways. Just a little something to say, “hey, i am thinking of you, stranger. have a great day!” Maybe the person needed it, maybe not (probably not) but I am betting that the small act of generosity made that person’s day. Sometimes a smile is all it takes…other days, a toll, or a coffee for that matter…

It doesn’t take much to do something for your neighbor and to show your child a little compassion. These kids of ours learn more through modeling behavior than through verbalizing it…So, think about it.

Thanks for reading.


Marnie Craycroft

Marnie hails from Maine where she spent summers buried in sand and winters buried in snow. She is the daughter of a nearly four decade veteran of the public school systems. Teaching has always been a part of her life. She founded Carrots Are Orange in 2010.

Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori learning and living website for parents and teachers.

Marnie graduated from Wesleyan University in 1999 with a BA in Economics. She spent nearly a decade working in investment management. In 2006, she earned her MA in business from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999 and currently lives in Boulder with her husband and three sons. She is Montessori trained. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Buzzfeed, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, Huffington Post, and Besides writing, passions include running (usually after her three sons), photography, and outdoor adventures.

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