My son Owen, age six, had an epiphany yesterday.
I had taken him on our monthly "date," a special time I spend with each of the kids and with JD every month. He had just gotten his allowance, so after eating pizza, I took him to Target so he could look for a computer game. Owen is a very careful, thoughtful decision-maker. He slowly walked up and down the aisles, considering his options.
"Ellie really wants that game," he remarked, looking at a PC game called Diner Dash. He picked it up and scanned the cover. "She would love this," he said.
"Owen, it will be a long time before you can afford another game," I said. "Why don't you get one that you want?" Owen put the game back and walked around some more, admiring the boy-games. But he kept coming back to Ellie's game.
Finally, when I had just about gone batty with his slow, deliberate decision-making, Owen told me, "I'm getting the game for Ellie."
"OK," I said, thinking he would soon regret this choice and want to go back.
On the way out, he asked me what was my favorite Bible verse. I told him, then asked what was his. "Do to others what you want them to do to you," he said. I thought about his recent purchase and wondered when he got so mature.
At home, when he handed Ellie the game, the happy squeals and huge smile on her face made it obvious that Owen had made a good choice. Later, I came into the living room and saw them sitting together at the computer, Owen watching as Ellie played her game. And I knew that somehow this was a rite of passage, a day that would change Owen, even as it changed me. He had put a Bible principle into practice and found out how rewarding it was.
So, here is a snapshot that I want to save and pull out again in the future, when my six-year-old is a grown man. I want to remember how he looked yesterday, his blue eyes so sincere as he told me about the Golden Rule, his hair the color of tousled corn silk, and two teeth missing. I want to remember the pureness of his desire to make his sister happy. In this, he reminds me so much of myself at that age, and I hope his innocence and love will not hit against too many crushing blows as he gets older, but will find a place to exert their influence and make the world a better place, even as he grows in the art of giving.