Skip to main content

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

By Stephen C. Schultz

I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this;

“…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!”

As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying.

I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back in and grabbed a napkin and carefully wrapped the sandwich in the crinkled paper. He then slowly, but deliberately stepped from the deck onto the boardwalk and continued on his way.

My daughter followed his every move until he was out of site. She then turned to me with a sad look of confusion. The look in her eyes was easy to discern; “what did I just see?” This led to a family discussion of homelessness, mental illness and community services. While she didn’t fully understand the depth of our family conversation, she did understand one thing; she wanted to help that man. She asked, “Can I take that man the rest of my lunch?”

The homeless man had moved on, but this seemed to be a theme throughout the rest of our trip. Emma was on the lookout for homeless people she could give some food to. She is such a kind hearted little girl filled with “…sugar and spice and everything nice.”!

Throughout the course of my career, I have come in contact with numerous families whose “everything nice” daughters have strayed into “not so nice” behaviors. While this is painful and disappointing for all involved, there is hope.


Thank you for sharing this. The short article and video shows how empowered girls and young women can be when given the right opportunity, compassion and support. This truly was inspiring. Beautiful:)

Dore E. Frances, Ph.D.
Loi said…
Yes, thank you for this beautiful statement about the power and the possibility of change, and the how it can be fostered through the compassionate and courageous work of therapists and guides like the one we saw on this video. Let's continue to find ways to help more people have the opportunity to experience the insight and support that is available for them here.
Dore and Loi, thank you so much for your comments. They are much appreciated!
Gail Curran said…
Amazing and powerful... thank you for sharing

Gail Curran
Unknown said…
This is such a great Story, Stephen. Thank you so much for sharing. It's so nice to see that young people are caring - and wanting to help others. Service is the greatest kind of work!

It seems like your daughter is going to be a world changer. You should definitely be proud. I am wondering what is the best way to approach this. Rather than giving him food - and having him dependent upon you his entire life, I would suggest that we teach him to fish.
Thank you Lisa for your comment and insight. I agree 100% on assisting people in "Learning to fish". There is something good for the soul when we are independent and self sufficient. There are also complicating factors many times that include mental illness and substance use. No matter the situation, I think a "Hand Up" instead of a "Hand Out" is the best solution.

Popular posts from this blog

Fishing...It's really about relationships!

By Stephen C. Schultz Spring is in the air and that well known feeling of wanting to get out of the house and go fishing is surging through my body. I found myself in a sporting goods store the other day perusing the fishing lure isle. I was in the yard after mowing the lawn and realized I was walking around my small 12 foot fishing boat that is still covered from winter. I have had people ask me over the years, "What's so fun about fishing?". They usually follow that question up with, "It's so boring!". From my perspective, they couldn't be further from the truth. Fishing represents so much more than being entertained. It's time in the wilderness with fresh air and solitude. It's time to think and ponder on life's problems.  It time to express gratitude and count your blessings. There is also the satisfaction of reading the water, observing a hatch and placing a lure or fly in the perfect spot. It's the excitement of the fish

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent

By Stephen C. Schultz "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." Having been raised in Oregon, I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage year’s steelhead fishing the coastal waters, climbing the Middle Sister in the Cascade Mountain Range, drifting the McKenzie River and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  I have mentioned to friends, family and colleagues on many occasions;   “From a therapeutic standpoint, there is no better place to have a student’s issues manifested quickly than in a wilderness setting.” The question then becomes, “Why do therapeutic issues rise to the surface in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program like RedCliff Ascent ?” Throughout the years of teenage development, most teens spend a lot of time with friends. These friends think the same, dress the same, act the same, listen to the same music and sometimes get into the same types of trouble. Some teens also develop patterns of communication and manipulation