Raising ‘Em Right

On Christmas Eve day, I made a trip to the local animal shelter on my search for my next canine companion. I was attracted to a dog and after spending time with him, I asked the shelter to see how he’d interact with their resident cat.

While waiting for the outcome, I sat in the lobby and took in the hustle and bustle of families meeting and greeting their new family members and getting checked out at the counter. As I waited, I saw a young boy about 6 or 7 years old, cautiously approach the counter with a fistful of bills in his hand, as his Dad waited off to the side. He could barely see over the top of the counter and had to stand on his tip toes in order to hand over his cash to the clerk.

The clerk responded with a hearty “Thank you!” and then asked the young man if he’d alike a receipt for his donation. The boy looked a tad confused as he stood there silently and then slowly shook his head “no.” The clerk then reached over the counter to where a Lucite box was located in hopes that visitors would make a donation. I heard him say “let’s put your donation in here so maybe your big bills will inspire others to make a similar donation.” I have no idea how much he contributed, but from the reaction of the clerk, it was certainly more than a few dollar bills.

It was then that I heard an onlooker say “it’s his Christmas money.”

His Christmas money. I get all choked up every time I think about it. Instead of making a beeline to the store to buy the latest and greatest gadget that the media tell us we absolutely have to have to make our lives complete, this young man, with his Dad in tow, made a trip to the animal shelter on Christmas Eve to give his money to help feed and house the multitude of animals who are without a forever home.

What an inspiration that at such a young age, he has learned the value of giving and caring for others. While I left the shelter that day without a dog (he just wasn’t “the one”), I did leave with a full heart and a renewed belief in the goodness of mankind.

As we start off this New Year, I encourage all of us to walk in this young man’s footsteps every day of the year. To give, love and care for others, so that we too, can experience the joy of a life well lived.

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” Tenzin Gyatso

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