Friday, December 5, 2008

A few more coins

You try your hardest to teach your kids to do the right thing. And they tend to honor you in less-than-honorable ways. Like belching at the table at a friend's house on Thanksgiving. Or pitching a fit in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Or shoving people out of the way in the halls at church. Sometimes, you wish you could melt into the floor.

Several days ago the Salvation Army bell-ringer appeared in front of our grocery store. That tell-tale red bucket suspended from a tripod is a definite guilt trip. This year, though, I tried to turn it into a life lesson for my three musketeers. I had a bunch of quarters in my wallet so I handed some to each boy. I explained that we would be helping out people who need food and clothes.

They were thrilled-- to listen for the plunking sound that each coin made. My oldest proudly dropped his in; my middle son, curious for a moment, followed suit. Then my youngest, who was barely tall enough to reach, dropped his coins into the slot and GRABBED the bucket. He spun it around and inspected the lock carefully. Satisfied, he grinned up at the teenage girls who were ringing the bell and, by the sound of their mews, melted their hearts. You can just imagine-- "Awww! He's so cute!"

Several days later we were at the store once again. As we hopped out of the van, "S", our five-year-old autistic son, heard the Salvation Army bell ringing. He darted back into the van, barely missing the automatic door as it clicked shut. He re-emerged with something clutched tightly in his fist. Turns out he had raided a rarely-touched stash of change that he hides in a dark corner of the van.

"S" proudly trotted over to the bucket and deposited his offering. I was so touched by his gesture and wished I could explain to the bell-ringer what had just transpired. As I herded my sons into the store, I marveled at how just a few coins could affirm that indeed, I am doing something right.

1 comment:

aniC said...

see, i think that cancels out your previous "" post.
love it!