Raising A Young Boy into A Generous Man- 31 Acts of Kindness

When J was in the hospital, and I was alone in the room with him, I had more than a few moments of time to think about what my life would be like if he were to pass.  More importantly, how would I raise a boy into a man?  I’ve touched on this topic before in previous posts. I didn’t want to have these thoughts, and I tried to push them away, but frequently I was unsuccessful.  After J passed, I felt cheated. I felt that I had entered a marriage and chose to have a child by him because he was my partner in raising our son into a man, and now here I was without my partner.  In the hospital room, in J’s final moments, I made a promise to him that I would make this negative into a positive, and that I would somehow find the courage and ability to raise our son into a generous, caring, and selfless man.

Sometime during the week after J passed, it’s all still a blur, I had a very distinct dream.  I dreamed about starting this blog.  I dreamed about the name, the concept, the message behind it. I dreamed about many of you who are reading this blog today, and I also dreamed about the many more I could reach by sharing my story, as painful as that sometimes is.  I also dreamed about turning the idea of The Pink Behind The Thin Blue Line into a community service organization.  I woke up in the middle of the night, and I felt a calling placed upon my heart.  An urging that had been there in some capacity since the knock on my door in the early morning of June 14th.  A calling that there was a message to be shared from J’s death, and there were tasks to be completed in order to continue to walk our thin blue line and be a part of the good that still exists within the world.  But, as you can imagine and I have frequently shared on here, task after task, after task kept getting added to my list.  And I simply kept pushing God’s calling for me out of my mind.  Until, I simply couldn’t ignore it any longer.

And so, I started blogging.  And then, for awhile, that seemed like enough. It calmed down the urging in my heart, but it didn’t fully erase it.  About 2 weeks ago, I had another dream, and in that dream, I was able to bless so many people through community service, and community outreach programs.  And in my dream, I remember feeling content, and I distinctly remember J smiling down on me.  I recall waking up feeling that this was how I was to continue to walk that thin blue line that we signed up for so many years before.  And, so I began the process of creating a non-profit organization called “The Pink Behind The Thin Blue Line.”  It’s no where near ready yet, but I know in my heart, this is my calling.  This organization is the start of how I’m going to overcome this storm, and how I’m going to raise C into a generous and selfless man – just like his daddy.  And the beauty is, I’m not doing it alone.

While the organization is no where near ready to launch, that doesn’t mean our selfless and sharing should have to wait.  J would have turned 31 at the end of this month.  And tonight, as C and I were talking over dinner. We discussed a book he had read in school.  It is something to do with filling other people’s buckets.  In other words doing things for others fills their bucket and it also in turn fills your own.  As any 5 year old would be, he was a little confused by the concept.  So, I decided to demonstrate it for him.

And, in explaining and demonstrating selflessness and acts of kindness, an idea occurred to me.  What better way to start our path to a generous young man and also begin our quest as The Pink Behind The Thin Blue Line, than to perform acts of kindness in J’s honor.  So, I typed out a letter.  And we embarked on our trip to Target.  I love that store! 🙂

On the way we discussed how daddy would have turned 31 this month, and how we are going to perform 31 acts of kindness for others in the next few weeks.  Naturally, he was a little apprehensive, and when I explained what our first act would be, he was even more apprehensive.  The 28 plus hours we spent in the hospital, were indescribable to you; however, the care that J received, the compassion from the nurses, and the overall love we were given, was what made the situation remotely bearable. And although I didn’t allow C in the ICU, it was important for him to meet the nurses who cared for his daddy.  As you might imagine, he has a lot of questions about why his daddy had to die.  And, so I explained that our first act of kindness as The Pink Behind The Thin Blue Line, would be to visit those nurses, and take them some snacks.  I explained that they tried their hardest to help J, and that we should be appreciative of their dedication.  C agreed, although he was more than apprehensive to go to the hospital again.  We  visited Target, and we prayed together in the parking lot of the hospital.

We prayed for strength and bravery to face our fears, and we also prayed for the people we were about to meet for what is the first time after J’s death.  I thought I would be more afraid, more apprehensive, and have nothing to say when we finally made it back there.  It took a LOT of convincing for them to even allow C to the doors of the ICU, and rightly so.  They were doing their jobs.  So, our snack totes in hand, we walked into the surgical ICU.    We hugged each of the nurses who played such a vital role in giving us those precious few hours with J.  They talked about how they had prayed for us daily, and I talked about how I prayed for them.  They said, ” You shouldn’t even be thinking about us so soon after losing your husband.” And my response was, this is exactly what I’m being called to do.  We explained our 31 acts of kindness, and how important it was for them to be first.  And because they were so busy, we didn’t stay long.  But, those moments, those smiles, those tears, those “I wish I could have done more’s…”  Those moments of sheer appreciation and gratitude on their part and on mine for all that they did, were my affirmation that this is the path I was chosen for.  This is the opportunity where I get to use this strength that so many of you say I have, but this time, I get to use it for something I want to.  This is my calling, and I’m so blessed each of you are a part of it!

The nurses were extremely busy tonight and so we didn't ask to take a picture with them.  So instead you get a picture with lights that were extremely bright; however, I'm sure you'll all be so kind to look past that ;)

The nurses were extremely busy tonight and so we didn’t ask to take a picture with them. So instead you get a picture with lights that were extremely bright; however, I’m sure you’ll all be so kind to look past that 😉

As we were leaving the ICU floor, we saw another nurse that spent probably the most time of any with J.  She got to meet C for the first time, and again affirmation.  The last time I spoke to her, I couldn’t even verbalize my thoughts, but today, because I was starting the path of my calling, today, I really got to thank her.  And, for C to witness that moment, in fact for him to witness all of those moments, was priceless.  This my friends is how we, J’s spirit and I, are turning a boy into a generous man.

When we made it to the car, my young 5 year old little boy, starts singing, “Every storm runs out of rain.” I didn’t even know he knew that song.  And he told me, “does this mean our storm is running out of rain?”  As if I needed anymore affirmation tonight.  God is good my friends, and I pray that this is just the spark of the generous spirit within my young boy.  Tonight, I know J is smiling, and I know that because we can’t seem to stop.

And, none of this is to brag. I don’t need affirmation that what I’m doing is the right thing.  What I need, is help from you.  I can’t do this alone. And so in the weeks and months to come, I plan to organize events, and I’ll need your help.  While I doubt I’ll be able to blog daily about our acts of kindness.  I do intend to update you as frequently as possible.  And, in the mean time, I challenge you to do perform some acts of kindness on your own.  Change another person’s life tomorrow.  And when you do so, remember J – remember a guy who chose to walk that line daily, who chose to be an active part of the good in the world.  And while you are busy changing other’s lives, watch your own change as well.  Our world needs to turn around the entitled generation, and we need to instead raise kids into generous and selfless adults.  Ones that understand the paradox of sacrifice.  The beauty and the pain in it.  But that the beauty will always win out, if you only allow it.

If you would like to become a part of the efforts of The Pink Behind The Thin Blue Line, please email me at ssprague02@gmail.com.  As soon as more events are planned, I’ll be more than happy to give you a job :)!  Until then, please pay it forward, and remember J’s sacrifice while doing so.  And continue to allow the beauty of sacrifice to win out over the pain!

2 thoughts on “Raising A Young Boy into A Generous Man- 31 Acts of Kindness

  1. Cindy Ford says:

    I am left almost speechless (the idea of that would be difficult for anyone who knows me!) by your words again. Your love and dedication for your husband and son is genuine and beautiful. Your compassion and desire to fulfill Jason’s legacy is evident in all that you do and write. I am inspired and touched by your message and look forward to hearing more about your mission. ((HUGS)) Cindy Ford

  2. […] Raising A Young Boy into A Generous Man- 31 Acts of Kindness […]

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