With all of the violence and chaos in the world, I think of the words of Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” I’d like to add onto this timeless wisdom by encouraging you to look for acts of kindness that can sometimes be missed in the daily hustle and bustle.

I’m reminded of an insightful story. Two men were walking in New York City, one a native New Yorker and the other a visiting farmer from Kansas. Suddenly the farmer stopped and said he heard a cricket. His friend said he was nuts, there were no crickets around NYC, plus you’d never hear one with all of the racket. The farmer walked over to a planter and found the cricket. His friend couldn’t believe it. “What great ears you must have.” The farmer corrected his friend, “No, it’s just a matter of what you’ve been conditioned to listen for. I’ll show you.” He pulled a handful of coins from his pocket and dropped them on the sidewalk. As if on signal, every head on the block turned. “You see, you hear what you want to hear. It’s a matter of what you’re listening for.” The same goes for what we notice.

Let me share a couple of heartwarming stories to inspire you to notice the kindness around you.

A young girl brought her birthday money to a toy store. She immediately fell in love with a magnificent doll that she could afford. She noticed a boy her age looking at a video game. The clerk said he didn’t have enough money, and he reluctantly returned it to the shelf. The girl looked at the doll and then the boy, making a decision. She took the doll back and brought the video game to the clerk. After paying for it, she whispered something to the cashier who stuck it under the counter. When the boy begrudgingly brought a coloring book to the register, the clerk told him he had won the store’s daily attendance prize and handed him the video game. The kid was ecstatic and danced out of the store. The little girl’s dad asked her why she had done it, and her response was amazing. “Grandma and grandpa told me to buy something that would make me happy, and that was it.”

The following is a true story and one of my favorites for demonstrating the kindness of children. Ten runners lined up at the starting blocks to run the 100-yard dash at a Special Olympics event. All were motivated to run the race, finish and win. The gun sounded, and they all started running except for one little girl who tripped on the blocks, fell over and skinned her knee. All nine of the other runners noticed this, stopped and walked back to her. One boy reached down to help her up, and another girl told her that she’d be OK. Then all 10 kids linked arms and walked across the finish line together. It was reported that the cheering went on for five minutes.

Turn off the news and notice the spirit of kindness and generosity around you. It will create a much more uplifting start to 2024.

Tim Jordan, M.D., is a Behavioral Pediatrician who counsels girls aged grade school thru college. Listen to his weekly podcast, Raising Daughters, to gain information on raising strong, resilient girls. For more info on Dr. Jordan’s retreats, summer camps and books visit drtimjordan.com.