The Duty of Kindness to Strangers

A Leaf in Springtime

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One quiet summer afternoon, several years ago, when my son was three years old, we went to the local neighbourhood library. There he played happily with a huge pirate ship set out on a low table filled with colourful blocks and wooden puzzles at the children’s section.

Soon a little girl his age came along and as they played side by side, my young child turned and gave her a hug as a sign of his affection and friendship. The little girl froze and let out a piercing scream. Stunned, my son stumbled back, his little face quivering with confusion as he battled with his own tears.

Helpless, I looked to the little girl’s mother who was nearby, hoping that she would reassure her screaming child nothing untoward had happened. Instead, the mother simply turned towards me and declared, “I have taught my child that no stranger should ever touch…

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