How Do You Draw Kindness?

By Grandpa Jack*

A beloved grandmother, a cancer survivor, is one of the most dedicated and generous grandmothers around. She is retired from her job. But she still works very hard in lots of ways, serving people around her, and especially her grandchildren, whose families both live nearby.

Unlike some elderly people, when she’s with you, she’s WITH you. She gives you her all. No distractions, no blaring TV. When she’s with you, she focuses. She’s playing with you and talking with you and thinking about you. That’s a priceless gift I wish more people would give to kids today.

Now, this grandmother is very well-informed and diligent about nutrition. She battles to prevent cancer’s return by filling her body with the right stuff. In the summer, she goes nearly every day to the pick-your-own blueberry farm that’s near her home. She packs and freezes quart after quart of the luscious, big berries to the point where her freezer is completely full. If you ever go to her house in late summer, and have a piece of her blueberry pie. . . . Well, she’s famous for it, and for good reason.

Anyway, one day, her youngest grandson, age 5, was over at her house. He told her he wanted to draw a portrait of her. He got out his crayons and worked for quite a long time on it.

She ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the picture of herself, but noticed there were blue dots all over it.

“Are those raindrops?” she asked.

“No, Grandma,” he replied. “You’re picking blueberries!”

Of course! She smiled. But then she got tears in her eyes, for he continued, “Grandma, I’m not done with my picture yet. I wanted to ask you something:

“How do you draw kindness on a face?”

She was touched beyond measure.

We know kindness when we see it. And we do see it, on a lot of elderly faces. There are a lot of elderly people out there whose portraits would show it.

To this grandmother, and everyone who knows her, the implications of that question – that this boy associates kindness with her more than anything else — along with yummy blueberries, of course – is equal to winning the lottery, earning an Olympic gold medal, or any other achievement to which you could possibly aspire.

There’s no trophy for kindness – no published Top Ten list – no cash prizes or remuneration. But what could be a better end-of-life reward than that? A better affirmation that you’re making a difference?

You probably guessed it – the “Picture of Kindness” is my beloved wife, Raita.

And that picture belongs in the same place she does – in the Grandparents’ Hall of Fame.

* Grandpa Jack, an Elderberry from the Twin Cities, doesn’t do so badly himself in the kindness department.

By Grandpa Jack • • © 2019