Friday, January 14, 2011

The Promise

"The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher." -Robert Brault

Sometimes your child will say something that will quite simply floor you. Leave you speechless. It comes totally out of left field. Unprovoked. There are times when these things are funny enough to make you burst out with laughter. There are times when they say something that might cause you to worry, or at least make you wonder if you ought to worry.

But this time, the Peanut said something that gave us goose bumps, warmed our hearts, made us beam with pride... all at the same time.

Upon her return to school after the Christmas break, her teachers asked the class about New Year's resolutions. They do this often, almost every Monday. They ask the kids something and then post their responses on the bulletin board for us to see. The topics range from what they did over the weekend to what they enjoyed most about a recent field trip.

What the Peanut told her teachers made even them stop and comment. They pulled my wife aside during drop-off to tell her. They even directed me to the bulletin board when I arrived to pick her up later that day so I could see it for myself.

And even though I already knew what it was, since my wife had called me from the car after drop-off, it made me beam all over again.


The Peanut said her resolution for 2011 was, "To share my toys if kids don't have toys."

The Peanut aims to make 2011 the year of giving
What 3 year-old says that? What child her age wants to share anything? To be perfectly honest, the Peanut has a terrible case of only-child syndrome, especially when it comes to sharing. She's all 'me, myself, and I.' So this had us very proud.

Where, you might wonder, did she possibly get this idea? Well, right before Christmas she and my wife entered school for a routine drop-off, when the Peanut noticed the boxes in the lobby meant for toy donations were gone. She remarked, "Oh, we forgot to bring in a toy, Mommy."

And she was right.

In the hustle and hysteria of the holidays, we kept forgetting to pick up a toy to donate. And our daughter noticed. My wife called me, devastated. "We're bad parents," she said. "We're setting a bad example." It was a week before Christmas. Most toy drives were over. But I managed to find a local business two towns away that was still collecting for Toys For Tots.

We bought a toy that Saturday and brought it there. The Peanut put it in the box herself. We told her how important it is to give to those who are less fortunate. We felt like adequate parents again. We hoped the message stuck.

We didn't hear anything more about it for two weeks... until we heard what she had said her New Year's resolution is.

So here's to being more generous, more selfless, more giving in 2011. My daughter taught me how important that is.

**UPDATE** A few months later, we took Peanut up on her offer. And she sang an entirely different tune. Click here to read "Keeping Your Promise."


  1. It is even more powerful to actually go to a shelter and see first hand the impact on both sides of the table. Even more so if it is not during the Christmas season.


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