This summer, we had a young girl, about age 5, join us for camp the first time. Right from the first day, the morning drop-off was a struggle for her. The anxiety of separating from her father was too much to bear, and she could hardly be consoled when he parted and left her in our care. After some time she would settle down and would go on to enjoy the rest of the day, but the morning parting was stressful for her, her father, and for us.
After a couple of days, the father came up with an idea. He found a nice shiny stone and gave it to his daughter and told her it was a Courage Stone.
"When you're feeling sad and upset, just take this courage stone out of your backpack and hold on tight. It will give you courage and will help you when I say goodbye in the morning," he told her. From that day on, every morning, she clutched her stone as dad said goodbye, tears still in her eyes, but absolutely believing that she had the courage to stay at camp on her own.
(On it's own, this alone was a cool story. But then this happened:)
A few days into the session, our camper was waiting for the morning activities to begin. Dad was safely away, and she was still holding her courage stone, when she noticed another camper was upset on the other side of the pickup area. The camper was crying and a camp staff was unsuccessful in their attempts to calm him down. Our little hero cautiously walked up to the older camper whom she didn't know, and holding out her hand, offered her courage stone to the upset camper.
"Here" she said. "This will help you to be brave."
It was one of the most generous displays of selflessness we had ever seen!