My three-year old daughter, full of a sense of wonder and curiosity did just that while we waited in line at a store. She’s developed a fascination with the diversity of people, and an elderly man stood in front of us. He used crutches and had only one leg. His face was lined with the weight of his years and a heavy shadow pressed down on him.
Full of innocents, my daughter pointed to the lost leg and asked, “Where did that man’s leg go?” Her voice carried and I was mortified for her when the old man turned to her. Quickly, I got down on her level and told her she had been very rude and to apologize.
To my utter astonishment the man crouched down next to us. “I don’t mind miss,” he told me. “Little Lady, I gave my leg protecting freedom.”
My daughters bright blue eyes grew wide and she ducked into my shoulder. “I don’t want to give up my leg too.”
The old soldier laughed and touched her nose. “I didn’t mind giving mine so you would have the freedom to make that choice.”
Then my daughters face lit up with a smile only toddlers can manage and she threw her arms around the soldier’s neck. “Thank you so much!”
As he struggled to stand his eyes glistened, the shadow left and the weight released his shoulders. When he left the store I saw tears on his checks. Her simple act and heartfelt response lightened this man’s spirit and visibly warmed him.
I can’t say if he regretted his loss before he met my daughter but I can say with great certainty that she showed him the true, priceless value of his sacrifice. This may not be a personal blessing, but it is a great blessing to an old soldier. Sometimes, a blessing of others does more good that one on yourself. And children are the biggest blessing of all; them and their unashamed inquisitive nature.