Oftentimes, it is children who can best teach us how to become better adults. Their natural optimism, zest for life, and ability to love without judgment are an example to all of us.
Which is why Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck must be feeling pretty proud of their son, who is demonstrating these qualities at the young age of 5. Yesterday, Garner shared an adorable note written by her son on Instagram (with every word spelled correctly) that can only be described as priceless.
The note is two simple, but powerful sentences left for a future reader to discover. It reads, “Hello, You are loved. I believe in you.”
I can only imagine how Garner felt when she read those heartfelt words written by her baby boy, meant to brighten the day of another. I have three sons, and the older two will frequently write me precious notes on little scraps of paper that I will cherish forever.
The truth is, even though you try your best as a parent, you never really know if your kids are picking up on the life lessons that you’re hoping to instill in them.
“I don’t think empathy is something you can drill in someone’s head,” Garner told Today Parents.
And she is absolutely right. It’s really more about what you do than what you say.
“You have to have faith that while your kids can seem to be selfish and concerned only about the word ‘mine’ sometimes, overall, they are watching you really carefully, and if you care about other people, they will too,” Garner continued.
Amen to that!
It’s pretty obvious that not only does Garner’s son have some amazing handwriting for a 5-year-old, but he is also learning how to spread kindness to others in a heartfelt and creative way.
It reminds me of an experience I had when my son came home from his last day of school before summer vacation last year. I had asked him what he did at school that day. He told me that his class did a lot of “cleaning up” to get the room ready for the next school year. I responded with something along the lines of, “Well, that’s a good thing to do.”
What he told me next, I hope to never forget. He said that when the other kids went out to play for recess, he noticed that his teacher was still working hard on getting the room cleaned and decided to stay back and help her instead of going out to play.
“I felt sorry for her,” he explained. “I didn’t want her to do all that work herself.”
It touched me deeply that he noticed something about another person, felt empathy for her, and acted in a helpful manner. He often boggles my mind with his sensitivity towards others … even if it doesn’t always extend to his brothers.
With parenting, magic happens in the tiniest of moments — and it’s those touching moments that help you get through the many times when your children make you want to pull out your hair in frustration.
I am grateful that Jennifer Garner decided to share this beautiful moment — where she was undoubtedly bursting with pride in her son — for all of us to reflect on and learn from.