Friends and family can argue with me about any influence I had on him and yet, when he was four he managed to prove to me that caring for your fellow man and selfless giving could transcend any age if allowed to, because what he did, I never taught him…
Every weekend when he was very small and “I was too“, we were in a constant state of “hand to mouth“. A restless young mother and very active boy had to have some entertainment, so I chose many places to go that were not so hard on the pocket book, that we couldn’t still afford put food on the table the following week. We loved the beach, festivals, we loved our Church, but Boy did we LOVE to window shop!
Little Man had just begun to understand Santa’s lists for Christmas. So he would study absolutely everything in a toy shop for as long as I would allow him. I was just dreaming of new furniture and the porcelain figurines that were never quite in reach. At the end of the day, as if rewarding the lack of money spent, we would have a scoop of frozen yogurt with sprinkles as a treat.
One particular weekend as we were walking up to the front door of the Mall, He let go of my hand and bolted ahead of an elderly couple, while my startled heart leaped into momentary panic. Before I could react, My 4 year old son grabbed the door and heaved it open with all his might. A very surprised older man bent down, shook his hand, said thank you to him. My mouth still open in shock as well as the unspent reprimand said, “Well thank you for being such a gentleman.” For the rest of the day like clockwork, in a door, hold it open for someone. Out a door, hold it for someone. That day I bought him a double scoop!
The very next day in Church, my four year old asked for a dollar and to sit by himself in the front pew of church with this look of “I’ll die if you say no”. I said yes. What could it hurt. I would be only three pews away and the congregation was our family. So there he sat, all by himself, looking so proud! Anticipating his turn to put his dollar in the offering plate like a big boy. Only the man with the plate was not thinking that way and passed it straight over his head with is little hand straining the get the dollar in the plate..
As I noticed Little Man’s sigh, my heart sank for him. But before I could call attention to him, the little guy summarily stood up, ran up to the Pastor sitting next to his pulpit, and handed him the dollar!
Pastor thank him very gently and then walked him back to his seat. He then announced to the Congregation that this little boy would NOT be disciplined in anyway for his selflessness as gaze landed straight on me.
After service, Pastor picked my son up, took him a few feet away and had a conversation with him for while. Then he led my son over to me and asked me how I had managed to raise such an old fashioned little boy in today‘s age. My only reply was; “I had decided early on, that I was here to guide his soul and raise a good man for society“.
However as I beamed at my 4 year old son in the arms of my Pastor, I realized that he was someone that I wanted to be someday, when I grew up.