Recently, some of our neighbors were approved to be foster parents. They are a young couple with one child less than a year old.
Less than 24 hours after receiving their foster parenting approval, they accepted three children into their home for emergency placement. They instantly went from having one infant, to four kids up through early elementary.
Overwhelmed would probably be an understatement. At least, it would be for me.
I asked if we could bring some toys over – toys that Caedmon was ready to part with. She readily accepted the offer. Three older kids with only baby toys was going to get old quickly.
So I talked with Caedmon, and we decided he would look through some toys during his roomtime and choose some to give them. We periodically donate things, so this wasn’t a new concept for him. But I knew it might be hard, giving toys to kids we’ll see playing with those toys. And maybe playing with those toys again, but leaving them at their house. But he was willing, and knew I wouldn’t make him give anything he didn’t want to.
I handed Caedmon a box before roomtime, and let him choose some things on his own. After roomtime was over, I went up and checked out the box. In it were some Hot Wheels cars and a few other things. But there were also these army men.
Caedmon loves his army men. He plays with them on a daily basis. We have tanks, airplanes, helicopters, and all sorts of “army” things. He’s asked for more for his birthday. He could spend hours playing with them. So I was surprised to see some in the giveaway box.
I asked Caedmon if he was sure he wanted to give the army men. He quickly replied, “Yes. I have a lot. I can give them some to play with.” Then he walked over and added a helicopter to the box.
And just like that, with a quick reply and kind heart, my son spoke truth into my life.
While it’s true that Caedmon will not likely miss that handful of army men, and he’s (highly) likely to acquire more in the future, that wasn’t what he was thinking about when he chose to share them. He thought about the boy who was living in a new house with no toys of his own to play with. He realized that something he enjoyed could be a blessing to someone else. And he just did it.
We give and donate things all the time. But it’s usually things that we don’t use anymore, don’t need, or just plain don’t want. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But how many times am I guilty of not sharing something because it’s something I truly love? I’m not talking about the chocolate hidden on the top shelf of the pantry. I mean other stuff. Stuff that might affect my comfort. Or my time. Or my ability to live in my nice little world surrounded by my favorite things.
My son both humbled and made me proud that day. And reminded me that Jesus told us to have faith like a child for probably more than one reason. That pile of army men is so much more than just a pile of little plastic toys. Each time I pick up one of these little guys (or step on one in the dark), I will be reminded of the Army Man Principle…to give because it blesses others, not because it’s comfortable for me.