The Spirit of Giving
My son is a giver. It seems to be in his heart. I love that about him.
I remember being a boy, growing up. It seemed, being in a middle-class family of 7 (mom, dad, 5 kids), there wasn’t much giving to go around. I remember wearing hand-me-downs from my brothers. I remember eating as fast as I could when the food was around so as to not be left out in the cold. I learned to take what I could. I’m not saying it was a selfish life by any means, I’m just saying that’s what I learned – as a boy.
As a man, I’ve come to appreciate the gift of giving. Being there to help someone when they ask (or even if they don’t). Being able to serve in a way that helps another – these are the treasures I find in life.
My son is our only son. He’s our first and only. He has been given much and will most likely be given more that he needs. I think it may have been our second Christmas with him and we realized ‘Wow, he really doesn’t need all this stuff.’ We made it a point to donate the toys he no longer played with. We made him part of the process – asking him what he wanted to keep and what he wanted to give away. It was cute because after a bit of doing this, he would want to give away the things he enjoyed playing with and we would say ‘Are you sure you want to give that away? You play with it a lot. How ’bout we hold onto that one for a little while longer.’ Ironic, don’t you think? We continue the tradition every birthday and Christmas.
Today we were at a community gathering. He brought a packet of stickers with him and said he was going to sell them. Mom told him it’s really not a place to be selling things. I told him he could ask for payment in the form of smiles. Whatever was rolling through that beautiful mind, he decided to give them away.
His process of gift-giving began slowly. He was timid and shy. He didn’t want to ask anyone if they would receive what he had to offer. To be honest, I wasn’t in the space to do what needed to be done. Thankfully mom was. She took his hand and said “I’ll go with you. Let’s go find some people to give stickers to.” I’m very grateful for that. Very, very grateful.
I watched as she walked him around introducing him to different people. “Do you want a sticker?” He’d ask. “Why yes, I do! Thank you young man.” His smile was my reward. As the journey around the room continued, I watch him gain in confidence. I watched him stand a bit taller. Be a bit bolder. I even witnessed him receive a “No, thank you.” and simply move to the next person. Smiling the whole way.
All said and done, there were probably 20 or so people walking around the room with stickers on their shirt pockets, their hands, their name tags. The smiles and joy he brought to so many through his act of give-a-way was one of the most beautiful gifts I could have received.