At dinner the other night some friends were telling me about a birthday party they had given their son several months ago, when he turned eleven. They held the party at a local pizza parlor and had pizza, soda, and games for all the kids. They also mentioned that a couple of the children had shown up without a gift. My first thought was that maybe these kids didn't have the money to buy presents. My friends said no, that wasn't the case -- these kids were in fact comfortably well-off.
All the adults at the table commented on the nerve of parents to send their kids to a birthday party with no gifts. How tacky. How strange. How weird. Weren't they embarrassed? Didn't they feel awkward showing up with no presents for the birthday kid? Suddenly, Brian (the birthday boy) looked up from his dinner and quietly said, ''Hey, they didn't have to bring me any presents to come to my party.'' And just like that, we were all silent. Out of the mouth of babes...
How quickly we lose sight of what is important in life. To Brian, his party wasn't about presents; it was about getting all his friends together to have fun and play and celebrate his turning eleven. He didn't care a bit about who brought him what.
I thought that was so refreshing -- so sweet, selfless, and pure. Isn't that how we want our kids to be and how we try to raise them? It was the adults, the parents, who were taken aback at the lack of gifts, not the child. I was just amazed at how this all played out and it gave me food for thought for days. It was Brian's innocence and simple joy at being with his friends that made his birthday special for him -- not the gifts.
We do our best to teach our kids right from wrong, how to be decent human beings, how to love and honor others, but occasionally we can get off track a bit. As we spend time with our kids this summer, let's try to remember what the important things are and how to truly celebrate life. There is so much we can learn from our children about what really matters!