Monday, June 21, 2010

The Cuteness of Little Boys

Pioneer Woman had a very sweet story posted at her blog today. It reminds me of how incredibly adorable young sons can be, and, in particular, how wonderfully cute my youngest son was once, many millions of years ago.

At least I think it's been that long. They grow in proportion to the years, right, and he is huge these days. Taller than me, this big, strong Medic did the most amazing thing when he was a littl'un.

He was in first grade at a Lutheran school in the suburb where we lived. The teachers had invented a torture, I mean, an incentive for the kids called The Accelerated Reader Program. Kids would read a book, then take a comprehension test written for that book. If they passed, they would earn points. The points would be saved and collected for Accelerated Reader Store day, when the kids would use them to buy junk, I mean, delightful treasures.

After all, that is what reading is all about, right? Filling your bedroom with trash, I mean, prizes. It has nothing to do with widening your horizons or learning about this amazing world we call home. Nope. It's all about the junk. I mean special collectibles.

This was a time when among the best treasures were Beanie Babies. We still have many of the Babies our kids collected during those years. Well, he had been saving his points for a few weeks for a special one; I think it was the Ladybug. He was so tickled when he realized he had enough points that he could buy it at the next store day.

Store day came, and he came home Beanie Baby. I asked him why, and he told me that, at Chapel that day, he had heard about the kids at the inner city church we sponsored. He heard that they had very few toys, and the kids were challenged to bring in a toy for those other kids. Christmas was coming, and so, well, I think you can guess what he did.

He got his Ladybug, turned to the teacher, and told her what he wanted to do. She (with a tear in her eye, she later told me) walked him down to the Principal's office, where the collection bin was. When he heard what Ethan was doing, the Principal was touched enough to use the story when he talked to the congregation about the project that Sunday during the announcements at church.

I asked our littlest boy why he gave up the Ladybug, and he told me that some kid needed it more than he did. I could tell, though, that he was missing that special Beanie Baby he'd waited so long for. So I talked to his dad, and the next day, I went and bought another Beanie Baby. I went to the school and talked to the Principal. He told me that, yes, of course, I could trade them out, and I think he even took the Ladybug down to the first grade. Our son was confused until he was told that that little boy in the city would still be getting a Beanie Baby.

I think we still have the Ladybug packed away in a box somewhere. I hope someday I'll be able to tell another little boy about the sweet thing his daddy did back in the first grade.

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