Sunday, November 16, 2008

That man and the stickers

Last week, the Boy and I went to the grocery store. On our way out, the cashier gave the Boy a whole string of stickers. He was quite happy and held on tight to them all the way out to the car. As I was loading our groceries into the trunk, a kind older gentleman walking to his truck commented on the Boy's stickers. He said, "Well, I didn't get any stickers! You must have been a really great kid in there!" The Boy just smiled proudly as the man got into his truck and pulled away.

In the car, on the way home, however, it started to bother him. He began asking me, "Momma, why didn't that man get any stickers?" I replied that he was sure lucky to have gotten so many stickers, not really thinking much of it. But he wouldn't let it go. Again and again, he worried over the fact that he received so many stickers and that man didn't get any. Finally he asked, "Momma, can I give that man one of my stickers?" "Honey, I don't know who that man is, and he's gone." "Where did he go?" "Back to work, probably." "Where does he work?" "I don't know. I don't know who he is." "Does my Dada know who he is?" "No." "Does Ben's Dada know who he is?" "No." "How will we find him? Momma, I want to give that man one of my stickers." This went on and on, and he even picked out the exact sticker he wanted to give that man. In the meantime, my heart was simultaneously swelling with pride that he was so set on sharing something dear to him and breaking over my inability to allow my child this moment of generosity. He finally decided that stickers are for little boys, and that man wasn't a little boy. So it was ok that he didn't get any stickers.

I hope that someday we are able to act on the inborn generosity of my son, because I think that is something to be treasured and nurtured.

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