“Hey… what’s that heart on your hand?” I was in my own world, waiting my turn in a Sunday afternoon line at Woodman’s, contemplating my evening dinner menu. Roasted pork loin and acorn squash had just won out in my head as I registered the inquisitive little voice asking the question. I turned my attention to the cart in line in front of me, and I saw two big, beautiful brown eyes peering back at me. The little boy attached to those brown eyes was pointing his finger at the “Generation G” heart on my hand. Seeing this, his mother abruptly spun around and admonished, “It’s not nice to point! And quit bothering her.” He crossed his arms, shrugged his shoulders, scrunched his nose, and squinted his eyes. After a moment, he let out a mildly defeated “Hrrumph!” Classic pout!
I worked hard to refrain from laughing so as not to undermine his mom’s authority. However, I gave him a quick wink and responded, “It’s okay! A lot of people ask me that these days.” He rallied in his seat and flashed a triumphant smile. His mother raised her eyebrows, lowered her chin, and gave him the patented “mom look,” but he knew he had her. She gave in with a sigh. I showed her the heart on my palm with a capital “G” in the middle of it. Her eyes sparked with a look of recognition. At that point, she proudly quipped, “Hey, I know what that is! Down syndrome … right?”
I turned to her son, smiled, and said, “See… your mommy DOES know everything!” He giggled as his mom explained that her teenaged niece, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, came to a family birthday party recently with the same heart on her hand. She turned to her four year old son and attempted to explain it to him. “It means you are supposed to be nice to everyone, even if they seem different than you. It’s not okay to be mean, and the heart reminds you of that.” I gave her the thumbs up as she glanced at me for approval of her explanation. She was done checking out, and was obviously in a bit of a hurry. So, I just looked at the little boy and simply said, “Your mom is pretty smart!”
As they walked away, she smiled at me and I smiled back her. I couldn’t help but think that it really SHOULD be that easy. Wear the heart on your hand, pay attention, and take every opportunity to teach the next guy in line. Hey… this could work … spread the word!
I challenge you to make the Generation G Promise today! Generation G is a conscious decision to be better every day. Your promise is a daily reminder to always act with acceptance, generosity and kindness. Just think what could happen if we all decided to make that promise! #generationG … Be Accepting. Be Generous. Be Kind.