My son gave away his bike. He mentioned it in a random story about plans and things his buddies were planning and the rush of other things that adolescent boys talk about when they spill their guts at the end of the day.
“I told him he could just have the red bike – Sam and I don’t use it that much.”
“Son, you can’t just give away the bike, your brother rides it too, and you don’t have another bike…” I sputtered along listing all the reasons this wasn’t okay. “Besides, you need to check with your father and I!” was my emphatic finish.
I heard the groan. The one that comes from deep within him often these days when he regrets telling me something. He burst out with lots of reasons why his friend needed it more than him; sound reasons like dysfunction in the family and long traveling to school without help. He laid out a great case and pretty much informed me that it was a done deal. “I can’t take it back…you just don’t understand.”
I shushed as I realized I should. Later, as I was talking with my husband I remembered something key to the story – this is the child we have long prayed would develop a more giving heart, the boy who seems sometimes to not realize others are around this one who just gave away his bike.
Over the next few days my husband was the one to congratulate him on the move to give something to someone else. He graciously explained that your momma just didn’t understand, telling the boy that it was a fine choice – the right thing to do.
Yesterday, I saw the new bike owner across town on the bike and was reminded – this was a good thing.
This was a thing he felt led to do, a decision made with his own belongings which is exactly what it was once I stopped thinking of it as mine to control. Once I realized that it is my son who walks without a bike – not me. Once I remembered that the goal was to raise a boy who would see the need in others’ lives and strive to meet it. Once I understood that to really grow up, children must do it their own way.
Isn’t that what we were preparing them for all along?