A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
To the hard-hearted and determinedly if justifiably despondent: Sappiness Alert. Before plunging into the grim cauldron that is this week’s news about the ravaging of democracy, decency and our precious, fragile, singular planet, here’s a picture of – thanks to Raymond Carver – a small good thing. On the first fraught day of school at Minneha Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas, eight-year-old Christian Moore noticed that Connor Crites, also 8, was stressed, frightened and crying; at the time, he didn’t know Connor is also autistic. Because he’s, to quote his mom Courtney Moore, “a kid with a big heart,” Christian reached out, took Connor’s hand, and led him into school with him. “I’m so proud of my son,” said Moore, who recorded the moment of kindness and posted it on Facebook. “It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child!”
Connor’s mother April Crites saw the post and responded in kind. “Tell your son I said thank you so very much!” Crites wrote, noting that Connor’s autism makes her “worry everyday that he is going to get bullied for being different…Your son just absolutely warmed my heart. If there were more children like him I wouldn’t worry about such things.” Given the grim state of the planet, many people hungry for a glimmer of lightresponded to the post, and the women offered a sweetly humane moral message to them: “It doesn’t matter color, it doesn’t matter gender, it doesn’t matter disability, and it doesn’t matter anything, just be kind, open your heart…it’s what we need in this world.” Crites: “One act of kindness can change someone’s life, can change the world – that’s all it takes.” So yeah: it’s a miniscule moment, in normal times not worth noting. Next time, maybe a white kid will do this for a black kid. This week, the calamities will keep unfurling. Still.
“He found me and held my hand, and I got happy tears.” – Connor Crites
First published in Common Dreams.