Monday, March 11, 2013

Giving

In my son's class, there is this tall blond kid with huge blue eyes and a crooked smile whose birthday is today.  He has always been out of town every year until this one, so a week ago, his mother asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday.  His answer was to invite our whole family over for dinner.

This is pretty much the cutest and sweetest thing I've ever heard.  We don't know this family well at all.  My son and the kid aren't even the best of friends.  His mother suspects that it might have something to do with our daughter based on how googly-eyed he gets when she's around.

At pick-up from school this afternoon, he had this adorable, knowing expression on his face when he saw me.  He knows we're coming to his house.  I asked him what his favorite movie and color are so we could get ideas for a present.

We walked down the street to a local bookstore to look around, and our kids brought with them their own money for buying a gift.  Generosity comes easy for our daughter.  She is giving by nature, plus currently has little grasp of numbers and money, so she is happy to blow through her cash for the sake of others' happiness.  Our son, on the other hand, understands math more, plus tends to think of himself more than others, so he's pretty tight-fisted with money.

He spent a long time looking at a Star Wars book, and I suggested he get it for his friend since he had the right amount.  He went back and forth about it the whole time we were there, lamenting over and over that he'd be "wasting" all his money by buying that book instead of a smaller one.  I just kept telling him that it's not wasting money if you're buying a gift for a friend.  It's a hard concept.

At his friend's party over the weekend, we thought it would be good to give him this little Goofy-dressed-as-Darth-Vader that I'd just found that week at a thrift store.  It was awesome and funny, and my son loved it.  He also admitted that his friend would love it too, and after loooooong conversations about how good it feels to give someone a gift that you would like for yourself, he agreed to wrap it up. 

When his friend opened the box, the reaction was perfection.  He did the classic eyes-bugged-out, hands over mouth, small squeal, hug the present, hold it up, and laugh.  The look on my son's face was classic too.  He felt happy for his friend.  It's hopefully the beginning of generosity.

"When you love somebody, you sacrifice for them" is how we explained it later.  He's still talking about having "wasted" his cash on this book for his friend tonight, but I'm looking forward to seeing the look on his face when the gift is open.  All on his own, he decided to buy a box of his sister's girl scout cookies to share with his friend.  He even wrote both their names on the box.  I think he's getting it.  Maybe.

2 comments:

  1. Good for you on introducing this concept and keeping at it. So hard to conceptualize for small children and as you said, some get it and for others it takes longer. I love that he chose to share a box of GS cookies as well.

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  2. Oh I love this! Your son will always and forever have this huge chunk of my heart... way to go, kiddo. Way to go, mama.

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