I once worked in an elementary school. It was by far one of the best jobs I have ever had. I was a recess teacher. Being able to watch kids play and interact was so freeing, and I learned so much about our own human interactions. Kids are so honest, real, and say it like it is. There’s no faking, no passive aggressive behaviors that we adults have learned over the years of, well, adulting.
On our playground we had a bench which we named “The Buddy Bench.” The students learned that if they felt like they wanted a friend to play with, but they were maybe too shy to initiate with a friend, that they could sit on this bench so that others could come and invite them to play. It was a great place to see the purest interactions between people. I witnessed friendships created, the awesomeness of the invitation, “hey, do you wanna play?” and the giggles and the smiles.
Sometimes it takes the smallest of gestures–a smile, a hand reached out, a question of ‘How are you doing?’–to let people know you care and are interested in them. Jesus demonstrated compassion like this over and over again, and especially to people who needed it the most but did not want to say it out loud.
I think we can learn this from kids. Is there someone in your life that you feel you can reach out to? Maybe someone you know that might be sitting on “the buddy bench?” Let’s have the heart of a child and be there for each other! This season may bring feelings of loneliness to some. Let’s reach out and make sure we can be there for each other.