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Monday, December 12, 2011

Little Hearts Can Teach Big Things | Maris Ehlers Photography

We want our children to recognize the value of doing good things for others.

Good deeds. Selfless acts. Making a difference. These are things that matter, we say.  These are the things that matter, and so why isn't your homework done, your bed made and your face washed? 

This morning, after a hectic week and weekend, the kids and I were in the middle of the "we're going to be late for the bus" churn.  Mondays are always rough, and this one was no exception. 

I typically have to give my son multiple reminders and sometimes warnings for each and every task that needs to be done before we leave the house.  "Did you brush your teeth?" can sound more like a line from our own family school morning liturgy, repeated in various voice tones at the same time in the process nearly every single day.  

Sometimes I even have to tell him "I cannot listen to what it is that you are trying to tell me until you do what it is that I have asked you to do." This, is seems, is my mantra. 

Today, with my head and arm buried under the couch, trying to reach for an errant shoe (that should have been on his foot), I was repeating my liturgy of the morning.  "Hunter, do you have your backpack ready?  Did you feed the dog?  Where is your coat?"  

He was talking about rocks and dogwood trees and I don't know what else.  I admit it. I wasn't really listening.  I was giving him the obligatory  "Umm hmmm" and the "That's nice.", while my mind raced around the many other things that needed to be done. 

He was talking.  I was wondering how his shoe got this far under the couch in less than twelve hours.  

He was dreaming. I was frustrated. Why can't he just follow directions, do what he's told, and follow the rules? 

Pulling myself up to my hands and knees while picking something else up off the floor, I said "I cannot listen to what it is that you are trying to tell me until you do what it is that I have asked you to do."  

He went to get his coat.  And then the soft echo of the last thing he said permeated my thoughts, just a second later than he said it. 

"Mom, you know my birthday money? That I've been saving for a scooter? I'd like to donate it and give it to someone else. Someone in need."

And in that moment, with a child's shoe in my hand, the frustrated scowl left my face.

I found gratitude. Gratitude that he was not following my directions. My rules.  

Gratitude that he was following his heart.  

AN UPDATE:  A Twitter follower read this post and said he would Match what Hunter donates.  Hunter chose the Hanover Area Foodshelf as the organization he will donate his birthday money to.  So now, we are going to see if anyone else is interested in donating, too!  Will you join us?

WEDNESDAY UPDATE:  Raised so far?  $520!

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