A lesson hopefully learned
A friend emailed me today and told me a story about a family that just moved in next door to her. She explained that both the parents have been laid off and they have an 18 month old son to take care of. The only person in the household currently working is a sister who lives with them, she has an infant daughter. Neither the 18 mth. old or the infant have properly fitting clothes or toys to play with. My friend told me this story because she knows I have a 3yr. old and that I would love to help this family. So, I went through the process of cleaning out my little mans drawers and closet (a chore that was way overdue) and came across some clothes to donate. Next, I sat my little man down and told him the same story my friend told me. I cut out a lot of the grown up details he wouldn't understand, of coarse. This is how the conversation went, ''William, how do you think we can help this little boy?".......W: " I don't know momma"....." Do you remember mommy saying that the little boy doesn't have any toys to play with?".....W:"Yes."......."Both Lane and Yourself have so many toys to play with, right?"......W: "Yes."......" I think it's important that we help this little boy and share something with him that we don't need anymore. Is there something that we could give this little boy to make him happy?".....W: "Yes, Lane!"......."Well, we can't give your brother to him. Lane stays here with us. I was asking if there was a toy that we could give this little boy to help him?".......W: "Why?"........"The little boys mommy and daddy can't buy him toys, they don't have enough dollars to buy toys for him.( he understands all about money) We are able to buy toys for you ,so It's important to help others when we can. Do you understand?"......W: "Yes."........"What toy can we give to this little boy to help him and make him happy?".......W:" I don't know, maybe Lane."........"Honey, we can't give him your brother. Do you want to help out this little boy who doesn't have any toys to play with?".......W:"Yes, I want to help little boy."........."OK, do you want me to pick out a toy?"......W:"No, I pick out Lane's toy."......"Well, we need to pick out a toy that both of you play with. "........W: "Why momma?" (By this time, I was having major regrets about this conversation) "Lane is a baby and he can't tell us if he wants to give this toy away or not. So, we pick out a toy that both of you play with to be fair.".......W:"OK momma, we help out the little boy."( he picks up a baby toy, sheesh!)W:" Is this good?"........"Yes baby, lets go put it in the box to send to him. I am so proud of you!"(we give each other a high five) I TRULY don't believe I went about this lesson in giving to others very well at all, but somehow he understood the message I was trying to send. I know I've got a long way to go in raising compassionate, giving, non selfish children, but at this point I can only hope to plant that seed.