The Six-Year Old Hero


In October, 1926 a terrible accident occurred which changed the lives of the entire Call family. On this particular day the mother, Ann, was in the kitchen preparing dinner. Little Lois, not quite two years old, came in for a drink of water. Her mom was busy and didn’t see her standing on her tiptoes reaching for her cup on the edge of the cupboard. Lois was barely able to reach it, but she did, and she wrapped her little fingers around it and tipped it over.

The hot grease that her mother had poured into the cup only moments earlier spilled onto Lois’ head and ran down her face and neck. Little Lois let out an awful scream, and Ann turned and saw her daughter being burned by the hot grease. The doctor was called and came racing to the house. After examining her he told her parents that he didn’t know if she would live or die.

She lived, but this accident impacted Lois and her brother, Richard, her six-year-old hero, in many ways. Two things in particular stand out:

The doctor asked Richard to donate some skin to his little sister. He was told that it would be painful, but he didn’t hesitate. Throughout her life, Lois was grateful for this gift.
Richard eventually went to medical school where he learned about new advances in plastic surgery. He found a plastic surgeon who agreed to help Lois. Over the next several years, Lois, my mother, had seven plastic surgeries that changed her life.

Sometimes when we perform a kindness for a friend, sibling, or stranger we can see and feel their gratitude. At other times, we will never know whether the one we helped felt grateful or not. Helping our children to give freely of themselves is teaching them service and through this service they feel better about themselves, whether they witness the gratitude of others or not.

Anne's Tips

By Anne Evans-Cazier, LCSW

Developing a habit of gratitude will help your child build a reservoir of strength to draw on when they need to bounce back from challenges.
Pick a time to express and record gratitude with your child every day. The record could be as simple as a list on a piece of paper, a gratitude journal, a notebook of pictures, whatever suits your child's age and interests. It's easier to start a new habit if you tie it to routines you already have, such as right after breakfast or after school, just before bed, etc.  Keep it simple.  You start, "Three things I am grateful for are..."  Try telling a little story about at least one of the things.  Did something happen to make you notice that today?  What does it mean to you or how does it bless your life? Then ask your child to do the same in their own way.

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