I used to be a child who learned from adults. Now, as an adult and I find myself learning from children.
Most recently I learned a little bit about giving. Wait! Stop! Don’t exit out! This isn’t a fundraiser that’s going to attempt to convince you into giving to 61, your church, or anything else – that’s not what this is about (that blog will be out next week).
Twice a year we do vacations. We started this to keep our team sane and to get away from our 24/7 outpouring in order to get some rest. Now, it’s a little of that, but also it’s a time to take the boys to see and experience their beautiful country.
This past week we took them to the coast. They’d never seen the ocean and can’t really swim – so I was full of excitement as well as “What am I doing?” thoughts.
Before we left I emptied out a jar that I always put my change in from that day. I had the boys count it, divide it equally among the three of them, and then explained that this was their spending money for the week. They were responsible for keeping track of it, and it had to last the whole week. They were pumped to have some money in their pocket!
It was time to go.
The ten hour drive wasn’t that bad. Besides the one puking incident in which I was prepared for with bags strategically placed within the car and the reoccurring “Are we there yet” question that legitimately started 45 minutes into the trip and was reworded and asked every 15-20 minutes from then on – it was a great drive!
The first day we of course went out to the beach. It was hot- so hot that the boys were getting holes burnt in their pockets. I laughed and shook my head as I watched Martin go and start spending his money within 15 minutes of a weeklong trip.
As I shook my head and told the other boys to be more wise with their money and save it, Martin comes running back with a big smile on his face. I quickly tell him he’s going to spend all of his money and regret it.
He just looked at me and said “I bought this for you (hands me a necklace). Thank you for taking care of us.”
A sandy size 13 foot doesn’t taste so good.
The week goes on and we had an amazing time. Within a few days the boys were diving for coins in the deep end of the pool and riding the waves. We took a boat out and found shells and starfish (which I made them throw back- don’t hate, they’re living creatures). They had an absolute blast. My favorite things were ice cold drinks and ice cream.
Fast forward to when we get home.
We get back and the boys quickly show off their prized shells (some of which they bought and the others that we found) and as the onlookers attempt to hand them back the boys simply say “they’re for you”. I started to jump in to tell them to not give all of their stuff away- but why? I was convicted right then and there.
It’s in our nature to give. Trust me, I wish I had taught these boys to live like this. It’s a full-time job for me to make sure they don’t give the shoes they’re wearing and the shirt off their back away to the kids in the neighborhood.
Every time I hand them something, the first thing out of their mouth is “can I share with —–“.
I know. I’m bragging. I love these kids, because of who they are and because of who they challenge me to be.
The world tells us differently and somewhere down the line we are told to give what little we can to make us feel good.
Their most prized possession is who they are with, and everything else is just stuff. Growing up shouldn’t mean losing our nature to give freely and love deeply.
This makes me miss the boys, so I am going to hang out with them now. But I hope they challenge you too!