The toughest thing about being a mom is figuring out how to raise your children as honest and loving as possible and not knowing, in the moment, how it all turns out. Every now and then, my kids will give me glimpses into their adult lives. Malakai just gave me one.

He and I were just hanging out, eating, while Zoe is at a friend’s house and Cali is sleeping. He mentioned how he has to bring home the five quarters he brought to school but he keeps forgetting. He said, “I wanted to buy a bag at school with that money. A bag of chips. But I knew you wouldn’t like it, so I didn’t.” I was so proud of his maturity that I couldn’t stop praising him, “Wow! That shows a huge amount of respect and honesty, Kai. Thank you!”

He shocked me with that one, but this one made me even more proud of him.

I shared a story with Kai about a funny episode with someone in our family and how this person thought it was funny and they wouldn’t mind us knowing and laughing about it but I emphasized that it was not to be shared with anyone else. On this note, Malakai said, “[This boy at school] is mean to his grandma. He talks about her at school and says mean things to her and they all laugh about it. I told him that it wasn’t nice and that if he kept doing it, that I would tell his grandma.”

Something about that just makes me smile with tear-filled eyes. To know that my son cares about a boy’s grandma, and doesn’t even know her, brings me so much joy. He is such a sweet boy and is so smart and I’m glad that his empathy/compassion is starting at such a young age. Besides honesty, it’s one of the top attributes I hope to instill in my children throughout their entire lives.