A Child’s Gift

by Angie Ledbetter
Baton Rouge, Louisanna, USA

A Child's Gift

Struggling to rear decent, loving children today is a big challenge. Many parents have given up on trying to instill “extra” niceties into their offspring. In a world that promotes greed, ruthlessness, self-preservation, egotism and selfishness, parents face an ever-increasing battle. We must try our hardest to create in our children a bastion of goodness.

One way this can be accomplished is by meeting as a family once a day to discuss at least one nice thing each of you has done for someone that day. We’re not talking “life-saving heroic” here, just everyday acts of kindness. Still, you have days when you doubt that a single thing you are trying to teach your kids is having any effect. However, on a recent trip to a store with my 11-year-old daughter, I was in for a big surprise.

We parted ways at the front of the store, she to do school-supply shopping and I to hunt down a ton of groceries. When I went to check out, all 15 cashiers were busy with at least two shoppers in each line. I couldn’t believe I’d finished before Amanda and looked around for her. She got into another line, and I watched as she checked out. It’s a mother thing — observing your children to see how they handle themselves when they think their parents are nowhere around.

Her eyes followed an elderly gentleman walking back and forth. He wore tattered, mismatched clothes and shower slippers. She watched him stop in front of a row of cookies. He counted the change in his pocket and then reshelved the cookies.

I watched as she searched her purse for some money. My heart was fluttering as tears welled up in my eyes. My beautiful daughter waited until the man turned to walk away, then walked up behind him and silently dropped the rolled-up dollar bills on the floor. She tapped him on the shoulder and then bent to retrieve the money.

Both faces were smiling as Amanda skipped back to her place in line. I wiped my eyes and cleared my throat before I waved to get her attention. On the drive home, she said, “Mom, there was a homeless man in the store and he was hungry.” Well, did you give him some money or buy him something to eat?” I quizzed her.

“I did give him some money, but I pretended like I found it on the floor so he wouldn’t be embarrassed. I told him that I thought the money was his, but he said it wasn’t. But I handed it to him anyway. He said, ‘Bless you,’ and I do feel blessed, Mom.”

I’ll hold onto that little scene in my heart for many years to come. I hope I can make someone feel as proud of me as I felt of her that day. And one day when she has children of her own, I’ll retell the story to her.

Originally published as HeroicStories #178 on Sept 26, 2000

6 thoughts on “A Child’s Gift”

  1. What a beautiful story. We all hope we’ve taught our children well and it’s a blessing to hear of a success like this. Made my eyes tear up just reading it so can imagine the pride it placed in that mother’s heart.

  2. Hoooo – right in the feels. Mom has done a great job of instilling generosity and respect for others in her daughter. That the young girl would be thoughtful enough to not want the gentleman to be embarrassed by her gift. Lovely – just lovely.


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