Clearly, compassion has secured a place in my five-year old’s soul.

Today, as we were driving down Lyndale near 66th Street, Dylan noticed a very stooped over, elderly woman walking alone, using a cane and pushing her own shopping cart.

And this is how our conversation went:

Dylan: Oh, mom, look at that woman! She’s walking all alone.

And she must be hot. It’s so hot outside.

She’s walking with a cane. It looks like it’s hard for her to walk.

See, she’s going very slowly.

And no one will give her a ride anywhere!

(Great indignation and astonishment were expressed at this point…I think that Dylan was prepared to ask me to offer her a ride, and I certainly would not have disagreed with him.)

Poor woman.

All alone.

Walking on this hot, hot day.

Silence as we sat at the light and watched her make her way down the sidewalk.

Dylan: Oh good!

Look mom!

She’s stopping at the bus stop.

Me: Oh yes, she must be taking the bus!

Dylan: Oh that’s so good. Now she has a ride.

(Now a very relieved timbre came into his voice.)

Me: And she can even bring her shopping cart on the bus with her.

She’s dressed so nicely! Look at her pretty scarf and bright dress.

Dylan: Yes, I think she’s putting on her hat now. Here comes the bus!

Can you imagine my joy at witnessing such a clear demonstration of his bejeweled heart?

If my sons look at the world each day through eyes of love and have the capacity to feel compassion in their hearts–not only for those they know and love already, but for strangers out the window, out of reach, on the street–I will know that I successfully shared with them one of God’s most precious gifts:

The gift of noticing need, of caring deeply, and of reaching out with our hearts and our hands.

The gift of perceiving sorrow and loneliness in our world so that we can be part of its healing and joy.