Monday, December 6, 2010

Never underestimate children and the true meaning of Christmas

Since having children I'm a sap. (Thanks @AnneLouiseC for pointing that out for me on twitter.)
I get emotional over the slightest things, especially at Christmas. (Yes, I'm the one tearing up at the Santa Claus parades... sigh)

Here's how today's moment went (as told to me by a co-worker).

Background info:
The local shopping mall teams up with the police service and school board to offer a day of shopping & dining for about 40 children each year at Christmas time. (The children are generally those who would be in some way "disadvantaged" and could benefit from the positive experience.) The police escort the students to the mall, act as chaperones for the shopping event, and generally just provide a good role model to the students.

I had the honour of nominating my school's candidate for this program this year. I thought about the students in my class and got stuck on one particular little guy. While he doesn't lack material goods, I thought he was someone who could benefit from the "role model" aspect of the experience. And, he's someone who I know would truly appreciate the opportunity and remember it for years to come.

Well, my little man went to the event. A staff member drove him to the mall, and while in the car, she was asking him if he had a list of things he'd like to buy with the $100 gift certificate. He indicated quite clearly, that he would be buying something for his mom, and his dad for Christmas. My co-worker reminded him that he should have something in there for himself, as well. He agreed quietly and away they continued on the ride.

They made it to the mall. He was merrily and proudly on his way through the mall with his escort/buddy/role model for the day. At the end of the event, Mister was no where to be found. My co-worker was waiting and waiting. No sign of him. Then, out of the corner of her eye she saw him coming. They waited for some prizes to be drawn and then, as it was time to leave, she motioned that he was forgetting his jacket.
"Um, just wait. I have to go somewhere with these 2 guys (his policeman escort/buddy and another person)."
A little while later, he came back... beaming, but unassuming as well.

See, Mister took the $100 gift certificate and went on the shopping trip through the mall and bought not one thing for himself. He spent the $100 on gifts for his mom and dad and sister. Not one gift for himself. Nothing. He's 12 years old.

His escort/buddy for the day was so touched by this act of selflessness, that he and another escort both took him to a store and bought him an NHL jersey & hat; so he'd have something of his own... and in a way to express their pride in what he had so selflessly done.

But, wait... it doesn't even stop there! Each child was given a stocking full of gift certificates, gifts, etc. One of the gifts in his stocking was some kind of perfume. He asked my co-worker what it was. She told him, "perfume. Your sister or mom would probably appreciate that, you know." He continued looking through the stocking.
When he was finished, he took the perfume, held out his hand, and offered it to her saying, "You know, I really appreciate you driving me down here, today. Thanks."
With tears in her eyes, she assured him that his sister would love to have it, but "thanks."

That, folks, is one of the reasons I'm a sap at Christmas.
That will probably go down as one of my proudest teaching moments.
That is the true spirit of Christmas.


  1. WOW, what an amazing story. That young boy definitely deserved to have this opportunity given to him. Dawn, he will remember this for the rest of his life.

  2. Thanks for sharing Dawn. I get more teary every year I'm sure. The Mt. Carmel concert had a grandfather come so his granddaughter could wear the new dress bought by his wife who died suddenly the day before. Harbourside had a live-feed last night to the hospital in Halifax where a father is a burn victim and Glace Bay High dedicated their last band piece about "peace" to the recently tragically killed young girl. Mt. Carmel, St. Agnes and MacDonald are working on a mass video with students and staff of "Love Rescue Me."

    Now this. I feel so privileged to have been there that day but had no idea that this had happened. One funny thing from the day was the tiny 5-year-old who wanted to buy fake fingernails!

    Thanks again for sharing. I think my heart may explode (in a good way).

  3. Just to make you well-up again Harbourside's concert today is dedicated IMO James Delorey.


Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post! ~Dawn