While my husband drove, keeping pace with the cars ahead, we watched a sea of traffic part. As cars pulled off to the side, the road became almost exclusively ours.
We had just attended the funeral of a family member, a retired law enforcement officer, whose death took everyone by surprise.
With a police escort leading the procession and a mass of blue and red lights flashing, passersby were alerted to the special circumstances and allowed the single stream of cars to slowly make its way to the cemetery, uninterrupted.
I wasn’t surprised to see folks pull over. But I was struck by the number of people who not only stopped, but actually stepped of their cars to acknowledge the gravity of the occasion.
Some raised a hand to their foreheads and carried out a reverent salute. Some removed their caps or held a hand over their beating heart. Some simply gave a nod, their eyes full of compassion and understanding.
It was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.
Those people who made the small, but powerful effort to show respect for the man we were about to lay to rest have no idea the impact they left on our hearts. I doubt they’ll remember us, but we’ll certainly remember them. Their kindness brightened a gloomy day.
I hope my kids recognize goodness in the world and grow up to be like the people who stood on the street. For a few moments, they were focused solely on the people who were in the midst of heartbreaking circumstances. They couldn’t do much, but they did what they could.
This is the kind of world I want my kids to grow up in.
One where respect is a priority.
One where others come before self.
One where the smallest gestures make the biggest impact.
One where time is never so precious that a little can’t be given away.
One where kindness isn’t wasted.
These are the people I want my kids to become.
The ones who make a little extra effort to show respect.
The ones who aren’t too busy to notice another’s plight.The ones who know a little consideration goes a long way.
The ones who pay attention and respond.
The ones who change someone’s day through a simple act of kindness.
I hope my kids become people who show respect, even when it’s not easy or convenient.
And I hope they live their lives just as the man we said goodbye to did, because then it will be easy for others to show them respect too.