Evan is 9. He's the oldest child of my younger sister Jen and her husband Greg. He just turned 9, and for his birthday he took his brother Ryan and sister Kate and a few buddies to the bowling alley. I went along too, it's fun to spend time with my nieces and nephews.
The kids (and grownups) bowled for a while then it was time for Evan to open his presents. This is usually the moment when any kid can get wrapped up in his quest for possessions with every gift he unwraps. That's natural, and Evan was clearly thrilled to be getting lots of new stuff. Then he opened a package from one of his classmates. Inside was a popular kids' board game, a fun toy, and one that Evan and his siblings already had.
Kate is 4. So she quickly chimed in,"We already have that game!" she informed the group. The boy who brought the present looked a little crestfallen for a brief moment. Evan noticed.
After a quick, eyes-only glance at his parents, Evan came back with, "We lost some of the pieces though, so this is perfect."
There were no lost parts.
The gift-giver smiled a little and everyone moved on with what they were doing. Evan knew exactly what he had just done. The grownups didn't make a big deal out of it, but we all knew that a little boy had just done a very mature thing. We were all proud of him.
It was a lesson for all of us, a reminder to be kinder whenever we can.
Evan is 9. I know he's going to make us all proud many more times in the years ahead. I can't wait to find out how.
We'll talk again soon.
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