A goodwill lesson
I live in a part of town that has always had families of diverse socioeconomic statuses. It’s been a powerful expression of the many ways people can connect and grow together in common goals and values while behaving (internally and externally) with respect for the ways we differ. I’ve been in this neighborhood for a little over 25 years and have both been a part of and seen beautiful collaboration that has left lasting impact.
The last decade has had an increase in more affluent families and with it, my children have encountered a handful of peers that seem to “have it all” and yet, they’re learning that these peers want to give, share, and contribute.
In a recent exchange with a 12 year old friend of ours, I was struck by the growth in him as he expressed his excitement in “adopting” a teenage boy for holiday gift giving. My son had recently shared the picture of a child we sponsor with Compassion and our friend was eager to report his news to us. The little boy used his hands to demonstrate an integration of his heart while he told me about what his family was doing. He used his shoulders to tell me the weight the teenager must feel by not being “adoptable” in the state system. He expressed with his words, tone, and voice to articulate the feelings and actions that went with them. Most of all, my young friend used his eyes to let me witness his joy in giving.
How beautiful that this little boy was led to know of a need and given the opportunity to give. How wonderful for the young man who will receive the gifts that this boy gets to thoughtfully select. This opportunity came about because his parents and their friends opted to sponsor children instead of continuing a past tradition of exchanging gifts among themselves this holiday. A classmate of our boys is fostered by a neighbor. They reached to her and this women directed them to the agency that supports the children. Step by step, people willing to take those steps, Love is passed along…not wrapped in a box, but all the little actions that led to the box gifted to the teen, now “adopted” by a boy who wants for nothing material, yet finds joy in the opportunity to give.
His family hopes to learn more about the young man and his needs and desires so that they can begin to invest beyond holiday presents. Maybe when he’s “of age”, they’ll have an opportunity to connect in person. Regardless of the tomorrow relationship,
May we all find joy in our giving this season.