In the first grade Sunday school room, one of my boys brought his Down's Syndrome friend. He invited her to sit next to him, glancing over every few minutes to make sure she was ok amidst 15 other kids who had no idea what to think about the visitor.
She sat quietly, listening and observing through most of the class. At one point I looked over and she was gently poking the boy's ear, making him giggle with each poke, expressing a genuine, unbiased joy.
During craft time, he helped her find the purples. Purple markers, purple stick-on jewels, purple pom-poms. "Purple is her favorite color," he announced happily as he dug through the markers. All the other kids all came up with different shades of purple, catching on to his attitude, but he had to hand-select the marker he graciously presented to her.
When she was invited to be part of the group, he actively encouraged her to join, but she declined because her tummy hurt, as he told us. He continued to be loving throughout the class time, talking to her and making sure she had everything she wanted.
How often I don't even treat my own friends who need so much less with little respect.
The Lord showed me through a first-grader how to truly love anyone.