This weekend was a special weekend at our house. My eldest son was turning 10 years old and like every other birthday, we spent the weekend busy with special activities for the birthday boy and his best friend. So, this Saturday was bowling, lunch at the local pizza parlor and then attending the Shriners Circus. What surprised me was how that night I would see such wonderful examples of compassion, friendship and patriotism from my two little men.
At the circus, the Shriners began the event with a marching band, introduction of the local troop of Clowns and then a local dignitary was invited to lead the auditorium of 4000 people with the Pledge of Allegiance. I was so proud of my first grader as he stood tall with his hand over his heart reciting the pledge in a clear, loud voice. Having never heard him do this before, I was immediately struck with such humility and pride as I watched the example of a six year old showing such patriotism. I looked around at the sea of adults, many still wearing hats, talking with others, and generally uninterested in this ceremony. But not my first grader, he was proud that he could recite such an important message without help from others.
Later during the intermission, the Shriners held a drawing for two new bicycles. I had entered my sons into the drawing and to my surprise, my fourth grader was announced as a winner… what a fabulous birthday gift! After having his picture taken with the organizers and while on the way back to our seats, my son looked up and asked if he could give his bicycle that he had received from Santa last Christmas to his friend who didn’t have a bicycle of his own. Again, I was humbled and proud that my son would show such compassion for a friend.
Life comes at us fast and amidst all we have to do to push ahead, I do the best I can to teach my sons good values, character and the importance of being a good person. The most important gift this birthday weekend was not the new bicycle or even the parade of presents from family, but was the gift given to me by my two sons and I am forever grateful for their examples.