Every now and then, something happens that really touches my heart.
Teaching your kids to care about others before themselves can be a really tough thing to do. Teaching them not to scream “mine!” when the neighbors come over to play or that sharing is a necessary part of life seems like an hour-by-hour struggle sometimes. When a kid has trouble with this part of life, it can be taxing on their parents…in this mom’s case, she learned her son’s true nature, and she can’t keep back the tears. (And neither can I!)
I work in a party store. An eight-year-old customer came in with his mother a few weeks before Christmas, and he comes up to the counter to ask me a question. He looked back at his mother as if to tell her that he could do this on his own. She smiled and stood back, watching her son with pride.
“Can I see your Christmas decorations? I need to get some really cool ones.” He explains very seriously.
I smile and lean forward over the counter. “Sure you can. Is there something special you want to get?”
“Well, I want to get a pretty tree with ornaments, and stockings, and presents, and Christmas lights! It’s for my neighbor.” He lists off his requirements on his fingers.
“That’s a lot to get for your neighbor, sweetheart. Why do you need all of that?” I asked while walking with him to the isles of ornaments. His mom followed silently behind us.
“Their daddy died,” he explained. “They don’t have Christmas this year, so I wanted to give it to them. I even got $10 from my mom to do it.”
I could feel tears building up behind my eyes but I tried to blink them away. “That’s very generous of you. Tell you what, let’s pick out some stockings and a tree. Then I’ll talk to my manager to see what we can do about some toys. How many kids does your neighbor have?”
“Three.” He explained. “James is my best friend. I’m going to give him my presents for Christmas. I asked Santa to bring him an XBox, too, but Santa might be busy. So I’m going to give him my XBox.”
“I’m sure, in this case, Santa will be listening very hard.” I said. I was in awe at this kid’s generosity.
I help him pick out some special decorations and a miniature tree. I grabbed my manager to ask what we could do for the kid. Apparently, the boy’s mother had called the store just before they arrived and explained that their neighbor’s husband had passed away a few weeks ago in a bad accident, leaving the wife to support their family. Her son wanted to do everything on his own, but I hadn’t been informed yet. We do a special discount of 5o% off everything. We even donate some bulk bags of toys and stockings. By this time, we’re trying not to cry.
The kid counts out his $10 and places it on the counter while mom pays for the rest on her credit card. On their way out, the mother thanks us.
She stopped me and pulled me to the side while she let him inspect the packages. “He doesn’t know it, but both he and his best friend are getting an XBox for Christmas. He’s only eight and he wanted to give them everything. He even demanded we have them over for Christmas day. He is adamant they’re going to have a Christmas, no matter what.”
Whatever this mom has been doing really worked! Not only did her child recognize that his friend was in need, he was willing to give up his own Christmas gifts to make his friend’s a little less hard to bear. This story got me right in the heart, and I’m sharing it in the hopes that it will spread some holiday cheer to those of us who may be going through hard times, too..
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