After nearly 20 years in the news business, not much surprises me anymore. But since having Will ... that's all changed.
I am constantly amazed and in awe of the kindness of young children. Sure, they squabble on the playground and tug at toys. They are a rule-abiding little group who will never hesitate to tattle on one another. But, their capacity to love is unmatched and their compassion for others is unbridled.
There is a little boy in Will's class who has a smile as wide as the Mississippi and a hug that wraps you in complete joy. Every time I walk into the classroom, he is the first to run over and say "Hey Will's mom!"
After a couple of days missing that greeting, I asked Will about his classmate. Will told me his friend had a "sick" heart. That took my breath away. What do you do when a five-year-old has a "sick" heart? How do you make that right?
Well, Will told me each day his class would sing a song for their friend and put his picture on the feel-better board. At night, Will started adding his friend to his prayers. One night, he said his friend's name three times. When I asked why, he told me he wanted to make sure God heard him and made his friend better.
Then, his teachers organized a field trip to Build-a-Bear one night. All the families met up at the mall with the sole purpose of making a gift for one little boy. I was so proud of the fact that all the children were focused on their friend.
There was no whining, no complaining, no "I want a bear too!" - none of that. The group recorded a message for their friend and then, each child grabbed a small heart to put inside the bear. One bear filled with a dozen strong, happy, healthy hearts. It blew me away.
I am so thankful for all the teachers who teach our children the importance of caring for one another. And thankfully, Will's friend is back at school, on the mend and back to greeting the parents who walk in the classroom!
At this age, I don't think Will and his classmates can even fathom the sorrow and worry that can accompany something like a "sick" heart, but, clearly they understand the power of prayer and the value found in the gift of love.
Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a preschooler. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.