Getting nailed in the face with a big rubber ball hurts. A lot. It happened to me yesterday when I was dropping my son off at school. We were walking through the playground when one of the kids playing four-square got a little too exuberant with his bounce and the ball got away from him.
It caught me totally off guard - and did I mention it hurt? - but I'm fine. No permanent harm done. The headache that it gave me only lasted for a few hours, and the mark it left on my face is almost completely gone now. And (thank goodness!) my glasses were only bent and not broken, and my husband was able to easily fix them for me.
But the inevitable bright side to this story isn't just that I wasn't hurt all that bad. The really cool thing about what happened is that it gave me a little bit of hope that the "kids these days" may not all be the rotten little monsters that people sometimes like to think they are.
When I recovered from the shock enough to realize that the ball had knocked my glasses off, I started to have that moment of near-panic that most bespectacled people have had at least once. You know, that moment when you realize that you have to find your glasses, but you can't see anything without them, so you have no idea how you're going to pull it off.
I was just about to ask my son if he saw where my glasses went, but before I could even get it out of my mouth a little boy who had witnessed what happened ran over and picked them up, and handed them to me with a cheerful "here you go!" I thanked him, and he happily went off to continue playing. He didn't know me, and he wasn't involved in what happened. He just saw someone in need and was able to help, so he did.
As soon as I got my glasses settled back on my nose I looked up to see another boy standing in front of me. When he saw that he had my attention he quickly said "I'm so sorry! Are you ok?" And he really seemed honestly sincere. I assured him that I would be ok (but I did take the opportunity to remind him that there are lots of little ones running around, and that it's really important to be careful.)
He promised to be careful, and headed back to his game. But before he was gone, another boy from the game also came over to make sure that I was ok. Again I said that I would be, so not to worry (and again I used the chance to remind them to be careful.)
I finally recovered from the initial surprise of getting hit and realized the other (more pleasant) surprise of having young kids be so helpful and caring. Way too much of the time all we hear about is the tales of the "bad kids" and how they're being dealt with. It's tempting to get cynical about today's youth. But they obviously aren't all bad, and some of them do care.
I mean, I've always known how awesome my own kids are. But it's nice to see that there are some other good ones out there too. :)