Although I’m not proud of it, I’m frequently late. Obviously, it’s not a good habit to have. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if my bad habits can keep me from making a positive difference in the world. It’s a scary thought.

At times, many of us question whether or not we have the ability to make a difference. If it’s not our bad habits and mistakes that worry us, we think we’re too small, too poor, too sick, too young or too old. The wonderful news is that nothing can stop us. How do I know? A little girl, with a colorful book and a heart of gold, reminded me.

On a cold winter’s day, years ago, when I was late for a church service, I ducked into the cry room. It's less disruptive than trying to find an empty spot among the pews. Sitting by the statue in the lobby is also frowned upon. Trust me.

During the service, a man entered with his crying toddler. Between shrieks and sobs, she cried out “Mommy!” She made it clear to her dad and to all of us in the tiny room that she wanted her mom and was not accepting his bargaining tactics.

Without hesitation, a little curly-haired girl with big brown eyes (who I’ll call Ava) turned around. Ava went to the back of the room and gently asked the little one if she would like to see her book. As soon as she handed it to her, the toddler calmed down. A crooked smile and curiosity about all the colorful pictures replaced her tears.

Later, when the man and the toddler were heading for the door, Ava jumped up from her seat and rushed to the exit. I thought she must have been worried about losing her book. But instead of asking the man to return it to her, she simply shut the door to help him. With a huge grin on her face and a bounce in her step, Ava flitted back to her mom’s side. What a great kid!

That day, God used my bad habit to bless me with inspiration. Ava’s kindness warmed hearts and probably inspired all of us in that room to want to be more compassionate and giving. By simply sharing what we have, whether it’s a prayer, a kind word, food or a little book, she reminded us that we can bring comfort and joy to others.

Ava’s thoughtful and generous act of kindness remains with me. It has inspired me to try to think less about myself and more about others. I bet Ava’s generosity will have the same effect on you. Then, you will inspire someone else to do the same. That person will inspire another and the good deeds will continue. One child's selfless act of kindness could multiply and touch people all over the world!

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