Kindness Is Not Measured By Size

Kindness Is Not Measured By Size by Judee Udkoff Guay -

Reposted from Orignal Blog on May 28, 2011

With the tragedy that has struck the victims in Joplin, Missouri due to the horrific tornados they recently endured many of us have wanted to do something to help them. We talk about it with our co-workers, friends, family and neighbors. We watch the devastation on the news, hear about it on the radio and see it in the newspapers. Again, we TALK about doing something but, how many of us or someone that you know have actually stepped forward and took action and how much of a sacrifice or cost to our own self this was done? I recently read a post on Facebook from friend who was asking for donations to send to those that lost everything in Joplin, asking for shovels, gloves, tools, camping equipment, clothes, shoes, diapers, sundries anything and everything that fell under the category of “gently used”. Semi- trucks were going to be filled to the brim with these donations and then make their way from Utah to Missouri. As I watched the posts show up over and over again on facebook, many people who read the post “clicked like”, but didn’t seem to do much else to really help. Hearing more and more about the loss of lives, devastation and lack of supplies, I decided that I needed to do something myself. I called my friend who had made the post on facebook, letting him know I will have donations for him. Gathering things which consisted of clothes, shoes, sundries and other garments that I either was going to give away to a charity or that has just been passed over time and time again in our closet’s for one reason or another, I filled up 2 huge garbage bags full of items.

 I then began to realize that if it was this easy for me to gather up donations of items that were not being worn or used then why my entire neighborhood couldn’t do the same thing!Making a call to my neighbor to see if I could get some help getting the word out I pitched my idea to her, Suzie is the one with all the “pull and connections in the neighborhood” the person who is always willing to help out others. I pitched my idea to her, explaining about the donations, what is needed, and the drop off location for them. I waited eagerly to hear her answer. She replied in an ecstatic “What a great idea” Absolutely!! Let’s make this happen!! She went on and read my mind saying “ Just imagine if everyone would go through their things, donating what they didn’t need or use any longer …think of the amount of things we could collect and the difference it would make to those that needed the help most! She agreed to send out the email blast to everyone! A neighborhood donation for Joplin was in motion… I was on a mission! Suzie also said she would have a friend of hers make a flyer as well as have it announced at church on Sunday. Things were starting to come together and the word started spreading like wildfire!

Friday afternoon one of the neighbors a few doors down came over to my house. He explained his family which included his grown daughter, son-in law and grandchildren had “gathered together many things to donate and if they could bring them on over?”. As they started bringing bags of clothes, sundries, and other miscellaneous things in brown packing boxes and large garbage bags. Jet was the youngest grandson. When Jet walked up he had a turquoise gift box in his hands. The box which had a baggie taped to the top was filled with a few different items and sealed shut with wide cellophane packing tape. Inside the baggie contained a picture of Jet with a HUGE smile on his face, in which he was holding a giraffe stuffed animal in his little hands. Also in the baggie was a piece of paper, a notepad of paper, a pen and several self-addressed stamped envelopes. The box was taped shut on all 4 sides. Seeing that picture of Jet , face up in the baggie with his grin from ear to ear holding onto this little giraffe, told the story of just how much that little stuffed animal he was holding meant to him. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then this one took the prize! The picture showed that that stuffed giraffe was his best friend, his protector; it was EVERYTHING to Jet, his world revolved around this stuffed giraffe.

 Jet looked at me, pointing to the picture in the baggie and said his name is “Stewart”. Jet said “Stewart” was his best friend and that he couldn’t go to sleep without him at night. He LOVED him so much! But now he is in the turquoise box, and Mom wrapped him in bubble wrap “so he can breathe “. I am gonna send Stewart far away to another little boy or girl, so they can love him, and Stewart will protect them from scary things too”. When I asked Jet why he wanted to give up Stewart, he replied “they lost their best friend, but I didn’t.  So I want to give him up! That’s it!” Jet then asked me “Do you know what is in the baggie and how come I have a baggie on the box?”  He said, “my Mom put a letter to Stewart’s new family, and she put in a the pad of paper, a pen and envelopes with my address on it, and then she put it all inside the baggie along with my picture with Stewart, so that the little boy or girl who gets Stewart can write me back” . His Mom went on to explain, that “Jet wanted to know that Stewart made it safe and was doing okay, so that is why I  put in the notepad, pen and self addressed envelopes. This way she said “They will have everything they need to write Jet back”. Jet then said  “I want them to write me a lot, cause I’m gonna miss Stewart, so I know he is Ok if they write me.”

 My heart sank as Jet’s little voice was shaking, telling me how much he loved his little stuffed giraffe and how much he was sacrificing giving him up. As he walked away with his family, each one had tears in their eyes, knowing that they would never see Stewart again. Stewart was as much a part of the family as he was Jet’s. Jet’s grandma told me that “the family would spend endless hours finding Stewart before Jet would even go to sleep, if there was a mess or something happened that shouldn’t have, it was always Stewart who caused the problem or situation, never Jet.”  She went on to explain, “that they never thought they Jet would give up Stewart, in fact when he walked into the living room with him, they all wanted to scream “NO!!!!!” , but, she explained to me, “what kind of example would that be setting for Jet if we didn’t let him do what he wanted to do?”

 My heart felt so many different emotions that this sweet little six year old had set off inside me. Happiness that another child would have something special to love and hold sadness to see the tears in the family’s eyes, and intense pride that this little guy was so selfless. I went back into my office to continue working trying to focus on other things; when about 20 minutes later I looked outside my window and saw Jet and his brother coming up the walkway. My mind started wondering…did he change his mind about giving away his best friend. Was it just too much for this little guy to do, knowing he would never see Stewart ever again? My husband went outside to meet him and after a brief chat he came back into the house, holding that turquoise box taped tightly closed with Jett’s most precious item inside of it. I heard Jet saying to my husband that he “was worried about Stewart being outside alone on the porch. “That it was too cold and he would be lonely out there without him and could we keep him inside the house until he went onto the truck to take him to his new family!”

For now, Stewart is comfy and cozy in his turquoise box, taped tightly closed, with the baggie on top of it, filled with the letter to his new family, a pad of notepaper; a pen and several self addressed stamped envelopes. All of which is now sitting on my desk, inside my home, where it is warm and safe until he is taken to his new destination in Joplin, MO and is given to a new little boy or girl. So my question is this. If each one of us gave daily to others something that we LOVE so much, CARE about so deeply, that makes us FEEL so safe and secure, just as Jet did at the tender age of six years old, could you imagine what an incredibly beautiful world we would live in? If each one of us gave up something that we had so selflessly to another who was more in need of it than us, what would our world look like to you?

What are you going to do at this moment… right now to make a difference in someone’s life…that really need help?

Can you be as selfless as a sweet little six year old named Jett?


Judee Guay Life Coach

LifeVision Expert and Speaker

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