One Boy's Wish List is all about Others

In this season of "Want, Want, Want," and many children being overcome with a severe case of the "Gimme's"  I was astounded by the heart and generosity of one child- mine- when it came time to think about the gifts he wanted for his birthday.  When I asked him what he wanted for his upcoming 12th birthday, he replied very simply, "Nothing.  I have everything I need."As this isn't always the case with pre-teens who often feel compelled to ask for everything, I have to admit that I was a bit stunned.  Not that he's a selfish child, on the contrary- he's been known to give things away because the recipient didn't have that particular item, and he's always been concerned about the welfare of others.  I just assumed that like most years when it came birthday time he would easily call out a couple of items he had waited all year to ask for.  So, I pressed him again about what he would like his friends to bring him at his birthday party.  His response, "Socks.""Socks? What will you do with a ton of socks?" I inquired."I'll give them to people who don't have any.""Really?  You'd give up your birthday to those in need?" I responded."Yes, mom.  I have all I need."So, I told him about the only homeless shelter in our county.  This shelter works with families who are homeless, providing services, shelter, classes, and more.  He asked that I call them the next day and ask what top 3 items were needed, and those items are precisely what he put on his birthday list.He collect a ton of stuff: Clothes, money, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and so many of the items that the shelter needed to remain functional on a daily basis.  His final gift: he took a teddy bear to each of the 3 toddlers in residence at the shelter.  When asked why he felt it important to give a gift to the little ones he replied, "Well, the little kids couldn't make much use of the supplies, so it was important that they have something of their own."We're through his birthday, but now Christmas is upon us, and yes, initially he wanted to give that away too.  I applauded his giving spirit and told him we would certainly be involved in service projects and giving to charity, but explained that those who give gifts do it because they feel good about it and they want to give to him.  After careful persuasion he managed to come up with a few items he thinks it might be fun to get.I'm so impressed with his generosity, his leadership and example, and I can't wait to see how this boy leaves his mark on the world....more