A couple of years ago I dragged my toddler and preschooler to Philadelphia for a conference. (Sorry other people on the plane… it seemed like a good idea at the time.) Their father came, too, and spent the hours that I was attending conferences visiting the plethora of fantastic museums and parks with the kids.
We told the kids that the hotel we were staying was actually a tower in a castle and the doorman in his tails and top hat was the king and the maid on our floor was the queen. They loved, loved, loved it! My son learned to bow and my daughter learned how to curtsy.
On the last day, we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art together. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. There is a section of swords and armor and my son, being into knights and dragons and pirates, was sent into the throes of a very vocal fit of sheer ecstasy.
“MOMMY!!!!! They have knights!!!!!”
“No, MOMMY! They even have armor for the horses!!!!!”
“Wow. Use your indoor voice, please.”
“But, MOMMY! Look at all of the swords!!!” Not using an indoor voice.
It did not take long until a docent was approaching. I cringed.
“So, you like knights, huh?” He asked my son, crouching down to his level.
My son nodded silently.
“Would you like to be a knight?”
Another silent nod.
He had the kiddo kneel in front of a suit of armor, pulled out a ball point pin, and proceeded to have him repeat the oath:
“Do you solemnly swear to do your duty and to protect the innocent, showing love and kindness to everyone?”
Solemn head nod.
“No. Say, ‘I do!’ You’ve gotta say it.”
“Do you promise to always obey your mom and dad and grandmother and grandfather?”
Another solemn head nod.
“Say, ‘I do!'”
The docent touched him on each shoulder and on the crown of his head with the make-shift sword.
“Then rise, Sir _____, of the house of ______! You are now a knight.”
Beaming, my son rose from his knee. He was a real live knight staying in a castle! He was living the dream and his behavior was impeccable the rest of the day.
The docent knew nothing about us, except that I had a loud, overly excited kid but his act of kindness brought history alive and made a kid (and his parents) feel super special.
So, to that man, and all of other fabulous people who take extra time to show kindness to other human beings….