A good parent makes a world of difference in a child’s life. Patience, love and a sense of good humour are important qualities to pass on. It’s a thankless task sometimes, but it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
Here, people share the time they saw an example of amazing parenting. Enjoy! And make sure to check out the sources for even more.
1. Same love.
A couple weeks ago on Fourth of July I was at a family friend’s house. These people were extremely devout Catholics. However, when the subject of the two newly wed women in their family came up and a young child asked “Wait.. Isn’t it supposed to be a man and a woman? Not a woman and a woman.” The grandmother looked at him, smiled, and said “Live and let live honey. People are supposed to marry who they love and it doesn’t matter if they’re a girl or a boy.”
2. The whole world’s a classroom.
I used to hate kids, until I saw the way my best friend and his son interact. Never a raised voice. Never were any commands given, yet never were any requests denied. There was no change in his tone of voice when he spoke to his child – they always talked like adults.
He would give his son quick, simple lessons every day. The one I saw was the meaning of friendship. I had just been kicked out of my girlfriend’s house after a breakup, and my friend came to get me immediately. While we drove, he spoke to his son about what it means to be a friend, and how sometimes when a friend needs you, it can be more important to help them than to follow the rules, and that one day he will need to help a friend, and he could count on his father to always support him doing what’s right even when it’s difficult.
Later on, his son pulled out his toy microscope, and showed me all his favorite slides. My friend sneezed, then, noticing that the microscope was out, said “Hey, want to see something awesome?! Get me a blank slide!” He wiped his sneezy hand on it and taught his son about cells and germs. The kid is 7, and already learning stuff I didn’t know until high school.
He never just gave information out to his son. If his son asked a question, he would ask questions in return to guide his son into figuring it out himself. He also wouldn’t let his son give up on a question until he had an answer. And if they hit a dead end, rather than just give out the answer, he’d sit down and look it up with his son, to show where the answer really comes from and how to find it.
And what really shocked me, and made me re-think my hatred of children, was just how amazingly consistent it was. I watched those two for about a month, and every day was more amazing fatherhood and awesome child. Hell, most adults I know aren’t as well-adjusted and calm as his child.
It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t just restore your hope for humanity, it actually inspires me to change myself. I count him as the gold standard for good fathers.
3. ‘Lil Mozart.
Sitting in an airport recently that happened to have a piano in the corner with a notice on it saying “go ahead and play it”. Got to listen to several pieces of varying quality. My favourite was a little boy of no more than 3 who bashed out a lot of random notes, but after every pause his whole family applauded him. Was adorable. Maybe he’ll grow up to be the next concert pianist, maybe not, but he knows that whatever he tries he’ll have plenty of support.
4. Making it easier for them.
I had a parent swing by my classroom today and ask if her daughter could meet up with me before the school year started. They moved and changed schools. She realized her daughter needed reassurance from me, her previous teacher that the new school was going to be a positive experience. That struck a chord with me, she realized change can be frightening and difficult for children and was trying to ease the transition for her daughter.
5. Non-Partisan Parenting.
Vice President Biden came and gave a speech at my college, and there was a mom sitting behind me with her son. She was asking him questions about politics, and he, in turn, asked his own. The kid seemed to be about 8 years old. She explained that Biden was a Democrat, and that there is another party called Republicans. The boy turned to her and asked, “Which one is right?” (Story continues…)
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The woman responded, “That’s not for me to tell you. You have to figure that out on your own.” I gave that mom a standing ovation in my head for not pushing her own political opinions on her child one way or another.
6. No subtitles needed.
One day on the UBahn I saw a man with three kids. One was strapped to his chest and the other two were probably 3 and 5. He was so calm, collected and cool. Spoke calmly to them. Was telling them a story, doing voices, acting goofy… I didn’t understand what he was saying because it was in German but it really touched my heart. Those kids could have been bored out of their minds having to sit on a train surrounded by a bunch of strangers yet he kept them occupied with what I assume was an awesome made up story.
7. The box architect.
My husband used to stop by home depot and collect the cardboard boxes that refrigerators and washing machines came in and build elaborate houses, airplanes, castles, race cars and tunnels for our kids.
He would take hours making these things for them…then sit and watch them play in them until they fell apart just to do it all over again.
I found it adorable.
8. Just magical.
Last week, I was waiting at a car dealership while my vehicle was getting worked on and there was a mother and her daughter taking turns reading Harry Potter to each other out loud. The mother had to pause several times while her daughter explained the characters to her, even though she definitely knew it all already. But the calm way she handled it was just amazing and so different from what you usually see.
9. Sunshine and rainbows.
A guy took his daughter to the pool and was just watching. She stopped swimming for whatever reason and she was dripping wet, and then she said something and he gave her a big hug and she went back in the water all giggly and happy.
It was cute how not a single care was given about getting his clothes wet, putting a smile on that girls face was more important.
10. You can have my rock.
Shortly after my sons first birthday, we’re trick-or-treating on a rainy Halloween as Charlie Brown (he wasn’t bald, but his light red hair made it easy to miss). After a dozen houses of cooing older women showering him with candy, we arrive at what had to be a newlywed, younger couples door.
They were out of candy at 6pm, having clearly had a good time enjoying it themselves, and just falling over themselves apologizing to my son. (Story continues…)
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He’s too soft spoken and incoherent at this point, so he just smiled and pulled the edge of their candy bowl down to his height, while they tried to explain that it was all gone. He then dumps some 9/10th’s of his little pumpkin-bucket into it. Something like a pound or two of mixed candies.
They both broke out in tears and nuzzled and hugged him, but he just didn’t understand the fuss. Obviously you share when someone doesn’t have any! He tottered over to the next door way and continued very quietly mumbling trick or treat for the rest of the evening. I should add that he didn’t realize he was receiving candy at that age, just that he was getting something for knocking on doors and making people smile.
11. Two good feet to stand on.
While snowboarding in Japan, my GF kept falling and getting frustrated. Upon seeing this, a young Japanese boy said something to his father, and then the father motioned him toward us. The boy came to us, demonstrated how to properly place your feet on a snowboard, and then, smiling, walked back to his father. Probably the most polite 7 yr old I have ever met. And most likely the product of a wonderful father.
12. Oh lolli-lollipop.
A long time ago, while on vacation, my cousin dropped a giant lollipop and was rather upset about it. While trying to comfort him, I saw a father give his daughter a similar giant lollipop and the girl walked over and handed my cousin the lollipop. It was really adorable.
13. Parenting behind the scenes.
I saw a woman with a screaming child at a store leave her cart, take the child to the car, and then come back with a nice, well-behaved child. Nothing irks me more than when children scream and their parents ignore them.
14. Raised with empathy.
A couple years ago, I was hitchhiking across the country with a friend and we found ourselves in downtown Calgary. There was a homeless man taking up a good chunk of one of the benches at the bus stop and a young couple came up with their daughter, who looked to be around 7 or 8.
They sat right beside him on the bench and started up a conversation. The girl looked uneasy, at first, but I could see that their conversation was going well. (Story continues..)
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It may not seem like a huge deal but I thought it was great parenting. Recognizing that there are people less fortunate, but still deserving of attention and decency. It was great to see parents going out of their way to show others respect in front of their children in a situation where most parents may “protect” their children from the “dangers” of the homeless.
At work I listened to a boy excitedly talking about all the superhero action figures, who had done what, what kind of powers they had, and who was an enemy of who. The mother engaged him in the conversation, asking questions and acting surprised by what he boy said. They spent a long time with the action figures and it was nice. A lot of parents are like “YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TOMMY!” and the kid is tearfully hurriedly picking out his toy like it’s a punishment instead of a reward.
16. The best canvas ever.
I was on the subway the other day and there was a dad next to me that was letting his little girl draw on his arm with a pen. She was saying things like ” and this is you and mommy.. and I’m gonna draw my flowers here.. And this is grandma’s house..” and he’s going “uh huh.. and did you draw grandpa? and where’s the puppy?” She had covered his forearm entirely in doodles. It was adorable.
17. Hopping for joy.
I was walking home after going to a small market close to my house and on the way back I saw chalk on the side walk. Things like hopscotch and Start running here…keep it up…faster!…FINISH LINE.” I of coarse did them. 100 yards later I come up to a little girl and what was either her mother or older sister. The girl very excitedly asked me if I partook in the chalk hopscotch and run. I answered I did with a smile and I walked the rest of the way home with the biggest damn smile.
18. More than minding manners.
Was at an IHOP with a friend of mine about a month ago. They sat us next to a huge family. Three tables pushed together with numerous kids and only one adult – a dad. The kids ranged in ages from what looked to be 3 all the way up to preteen. They were the most well-behaved kids I’d ever seen. Please and thank you and passing condiments about. One of the younger kids was even very patiently cutting up pancakes for the youngest of the group. (Story continues…)
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When they left, there was not a single piece of trash on the floor. We just stared at them in amazement. I would have complimented the dad but they took a different path out of the restaurant that didn’t bring them near me.
19. The princess and her bodyguards.
I was in a party superstore the other day and I was passing all the “party supplies” aisles to get to the good stuff. As I passed the aisle with all of the traditional fluffy pink party stuff, there was a group of absolutely HUGE, really rough looking guys. Every one of them was at least 6′ tall and could probably bench press me one handed, and most of them were covered in tattoos. One of them had his daughter with him. Every single one of those big, tough, badass guys was helping this little girl pick out the best tiara. I later saw them walking out of the store, and the little girl was wearing her tiara and a pink feather boa.
20. The lion kid.
A mother brings her son into the pet store that I work at every single day. She is extremely nice, and her son is just a regular 10 year old boy with a fascination of animals.
When he was holding a bunny, I asked her why she agrees to bring him in every day, when they never purchase anything (minus hamster food once a month) and she said as soon as he wakes up, he begs to come into the pet store all morning until she brings him in after lunch. He likes seeing the animals, and talking to whoever is working. He has a vast knowledge of many animals, and although it can get repetitive and boring, his mother never gets angry, forces him to leave, or is rude with him.
21. Getting inked.
My father used to keep a pack of markers next to his bed so on weekend mornings when we would wake up and crawl in bed with him we could entertain ourself by giving him “tattoos” while he caught up on sleep. He’d snooze away- he’s a farmer- it was a rarity, and let us draw all over his back, legs, arms, stomach. Then, when we finally covered him he’d wake up, walk to the mirror and admire all of our markings with pride.
22. There if you fall.
I worked at Subway and a boy with a learning disability and his dad came in. They walked up to the counter and the dad made sure we weren’t busy before asking his son something along the lines of, “You ready big guy?” He then waited very patiently as his son ordered the entire sandwich by himself and only stepped in to help him pronounce a few words he had trouble getting out. When the son finished his order the dad said, “Great job buddy” and gave him a high five. I was nearly in tears checking out, thinking if I have a son that’s the kind of dad I want to be.
23. Big love.
I was in a fast food restaurant in southern Utah eating and letting my boy play in the play place, when a group of about 6 kids, all from about 3 years old to 11 years old walks in with their dad in tow. From their dress and our location, it was pretty clear they were from a polygamist family. They were a happy bunch and he was really kind to them. While playing, my son lost his little toy down the back of the slide into an inaccessible caged area. He was really sad, and I warned him about taking it on there, but then these 6 kids – every one of them – kicked into gear. (Story continues…)
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They teamed up with one goal in mind – to get my son his toy back. They tried reaching through the cage, using their belts, trying everything they could while the two oldest went and got the manager. The manager came and unlocked the cage while this girl and boy ran in to grab the little toy and bring it out. The kids gathered around my son and presented it to him like a trophy, my son said ‘thanks’, and they went back to playing. I saw the smile on their dad’s face, praising his kids for serving my son.
Later, I saw them at a nearby park. The dad was racing them, playing on the monkey bars with them, and they were having a great time. That dad was doing something right with those kids, and set a great example to me, and a bias of mine broke down.
24. The times they are a-changin’
Indianapolis has one of the best children’s museums in the country, so I decided to take my girlfriend since she has an interest in education. One portion of the museum has a replica 50’s classroom with information about school segregation.
A mother walked in with two kids. Both seemed puzzled as to what the classroom was for. Sensing this, the mother said, “If you went to school when your grandmother was your age, you wouldn’t have been able to go to your classes with Isaac…”
I just thought it was great that she could put it into terms that they understood while involving details from their own life. I’ll never forget that moment and I hope they don’t either.
25. Everyone’s feeling bubbly.
I was at a grocery store before a fireworks show getting snacks for a picnic. A lot of other people were doing the same. As I contemplated hummus beside a man, his daughter ran up to him with a pack of bubbles and was all Pllleeeeeaaaaaaseeeee!” The dad says, “I don’t know, honey, I don’t know if everyone at the fireworks show wants to see bubbles.” Without looking up I say, Oh, I don’t know, I think I’d like to see some bubbles.” The dad just sloooooowly turns to look at me with this huge grin on his face, and says Well, I guess we’re getting bubbles, then.” Best. Dad. Ever.
26. The cherry on top.
I was at a restaurant last week with my sister and my niece (3, it was just after her birthday). She wasn’t having the best day and just been generally fussy all day.
When we got to the restaurant, I remembered something I used to do for my little cousins and ordered her a Shirley Temple (basically just Ginger Ale and Grenadine). The waiter came out with the drink and a small cherry for my niece.
Instead of eating the cherry, my niece named it (Shirley), and proceeded to play with it for the entire appetizer course. When it came time for the main course, she accidentally dropped Shirley and was devastated. I asked the waiter if he had another cherry that she could have, and he got the biggest grin on his face.
He came out of the kitchen 2 minutes later with a bowl full of small cherries. My niece was ecstatic. She proceeded to take a single bite out of each cherry, suck the juice out, smack her lips and say “ahhhh”, then move on to the next one.
Needless to say, that waiter got a good 30% tip.