As a parent I find myself constantly asking myself what I can do to help my kids. I know what I want them to grow and become (I'm not talking about what jobs they will have or what cars they will drive). I dream of them being people that are strong and faithful, people that will give everything for the good of others, people that love and people that are charitable. I want them to understand the things that have eternal significance.
Garret is our first child so everything starts with him. How we handle different ages and phases with him set a precedent for our other kids when their time comes. Tyler and I have been talking a lot about how Garret will be eight in just under a year. Anyone eight and older can be baptized in our religion (visit mormon.org for more info). It blows our minds that he will be old enough for baptism. He will be old enough to say he wants to follow Jesus Christ. I am thrilled and excited at the idea of it.
As we thought of how important this step will be for him we realized we wanted to help show him how important it was and treat this birthday differently. We want him to be prepared for the choice he is going to make and we want to start him off on the right track.
What we came up with (which we think will be great for us, but obviously not right for everyone). We told him that instead of our annual pick a gift on your birthday tradition (which I love) we will be giving him a set amount of money (still undecided) and he will get to do whatever good he wants with it.
We were a little apprehensive telling him because he LOVES getting to pick a present out and waits all year for it. We told him very early so he would have lots of time to wrap his mind around the idea and to plan. To our surprise (why we were surprised I don't know) he was excited and has remained so since.
We reminded him that he would not be getting to pick a present and he was fine with it. Not a word of disappointment. He began thinking of ideas. Some of his first ideas were to give the money to the church or to a family for Christmas. Then he thought of an orphanage and the other day he came home from school and said the janitor "looked all worn out" and he might want to give it to him. But even if he didn't give it to the janitor he was going to try and make him happier.
I have no idea what he will pick. He is in the "planning stage" right now. He has a year, there is no hurry. Right now Tyler and I are just soaking in this stage. We are watching our little boy learn to look for others needs.
If no other good comes from this gift it has already been worth it if he learns to love others and we learn with him. He has such a good heart and always has. He really seems to get the importance of loving and caring for those around him. I am excited to help him with whatever he decides.
Spencer said to me "Garret has one year until he gets to do something great and I have three". I guess there is no backing out now. I am going to try and write down what Garret does as he figures it out so he will have a record of his project.