One Christmas, myself and the four children headed into the big city for some us time. We went to a huge mall and had a private visit with Santa. That was fun for the younger two and it was great to see the older two play along. The kids got a small treat from mom, we had dinner out and did some shopping. It was all played out in my head as the beginning of perhaps a new family tradition for the five of us.
The day, despite the children’s needs, was going well—no major melt downs and many chances for photo ops by this crazy camera-loving mom.
We went into one store that had a large gumball-style vending machine. For $1 the kids could get a bouncy ball. I said no. Then my youngest saw that the machine was broken and he found just over $2 in change. We looked for a store employee as I wanted him to return said treasure, but of course they let him keep it. I knew this was going to be the end of our relatively calm day. My boy wanted to spend this new-found treasure right away. I agreed, provided he could find something for the amount of money he had. Of course, in this big city mall that was not going to happen.
I made the choice to leave the mall, go for a walk and look at store windows and the amazing Christmas displays. We left the mall—my other three ahead of me and embarrassed—and me and my boy hand in hand with him screaming very loudly. He was mad at me because he could not spend his money.
I am used to this, so just stood at the light waiting to cross the street when suddenly my quiet child called out “is that a homeless person?” and pointed at him. I answered with a yes and wanted the light to change. But my youngest, who was so mad at me, broke free from my grasp and ran over to the gentleman sitting on a cardboard box on this cold day. Suddenly my little guy held out his found treasure and offered it to the man. I gave a nod to both of them to let him know I was OK with it. The man took it and thanked us because two dollars was enough to allow him to go get some food.
The light changed and I walked across that street with my head held high, fighting back the tears. OK—I cried. My boy asked me if he did a good thing. I assured him he did a beautiful thing. Meltdown over, we looked at trees and elves and Santa’s, then soon headed home knowing we had a great outing.
Just when I wonder if I am doing something right as a parent, one of them does this. I often think that my little guy would have been the very boy in the story of the loaves and fish. These two lads, some many years apart, knew the art of giving. It really is the heart of giving. Click To Tweet