I went to the bank this morning and as we were leaving, Chloe stopped to peek in a big Dora-wrapped box.
"Ooh look Mom, can we buy these toys?" she asked as she peered into the box. I explained to her that those were toys people had dropped off for children in need.
"What's children in need?" she asked.
"Well," I started, "Some kids' parents can't afford much for Christmas. They need lots of things, like clothes and food, and they might not get any toys, so the bank is collecting toys from families who have some extra money or extra toys to give. That way the children will have some gifts on Christmas."
She was very quiet. I drove out of the parking lot and toward the edge of town.
"Mom?" she asked.
"Do you have any extra money in your purse?" I already knew where she was going.
"I have some cash," I told her.
"Can we stop at the Dollar Store and get those children some toys? I won't get anything for me, but it makes me feel sad those kids might not have any toys," she said sincerely. I immediately agreed and told her how proud I was that she knew the true meaning of Christmas.
We went to the store, and she chose a toy for a girl and a toy for a boy. She put a lot of thought into her selections, choosing toys she would like to have for herself, but never asking if she, too, could take home a toy. She asked me to drive her back to the bank right away, and she proudly toted the toys in and dropped them in the box.
I was misty-eyed on the way home. I was so proud of her. I know she has a sensitive heart, but it means so much to me that this girl, who LOVES toys and LOVES getting things for herself, saw a need and was willing to put her own desires aside to give to someone less fortunate.
Today there are women calling each other names, butting in line, and elbowing each other out of the way. Maybe they have a thing or two to learn from a child who has learned the real meaning of Christmas.