I took my 10 yo son to a parade the other night. I was sitting on the curb with a friend, and my son was standing on the road in front of us, a gallon size Ziploc bag in his hand, hoping to fill it. To his left were some boys about his age, and to his right was a group of younger children. Whenever someone went by throwing candy, they tended to throw either it to the group on the left or the group on the right, but rarely to my son in the middle.
As if this weren't "bad" enough, the boys to the left were leaning towards my son quickly grabbing up any candy that came towards him before they grabbed the candy in front of them. My son kept looking at me with a distraught look, upset with the "injustice" of it all. Then one of the boys to the left shoved my son as he attempted to quickly grab candy that went between them. The whole senario reminded me of why I don't like this sort of thing in the first place. It just promotes greed. There was a part of me of course, that wanted to play the part of momma bear, but thankfully I behaved myself.
I summoned my son and looked him in the eyes and told him I wanted him to try something. I told him that from here on out, whatever candy he was able to get, I wanted him to offer some of it to the boy who shoved him. At first he looked at me like I was crazy, but he obeyed. The first time he gave that boy a sucker, the boy looked at it as if maybe it was broken or something, but noticed it was fine. He took it and shot his friend a puzzled look. My son continued to give him candy. And then the strangest thing happened: the boy and his friend started giving part of the candy they'd get to my son, and they were quite generous about it. The next thing I knew, they were talking together, sharing and exchanging favorite candies and introducing themselves.
Funny what happens when we love our enemies, when we turn the other cheek, when we just love people regardless of how they treat us.
I would love to end the story here so that you could leave my blog thinking nice thoughts about me. However, just then the last entry of the parade approached. This is the entry from the local candy factory that throws out full size candy bars. My friend and I stood up and went to the road with the children. The next few seconds are a blur but I think we might have knocked out a few children in our frenzy to nab a Heath bar.
My son just shook his head.