Last Halloween unfolded a bit differently than expected. My son Cade, had picked out an awesome “Flash” costume to wear in his Kindergarten parade at school… because of course my kid is as fast as they come! I volunteered for the fun celebration, and many of the kids had the cutest costumes and were crazy excited for the party! Except one child. This child was the one kid my son didn’t like very much at all. My son had complained several times throughout the year that this boy had called him all sorts of names and was mean. As the kids and I often do, our discussion of kids that are mean turns into how they must be hurting. I try to guide them in understanding the background behind the mean. It never excuses the mean, just explains it.
So here we are in the classroom, all the kids scurrying around taking turns to go into the bathroom and put their costumes on! The excitement is brewing and the energy is high…except for this one child. He is mad. This little boy, dressed in the same dirty clothes as the day before, crust around his nose and a stench of days of dirt…didn’t have a costume. As we walk the costume parade out around the school building for all the endearing parents to see, I catch up with this boy, and ask why he didn’t have a costume. He vents, “I wanted one SO BADLY but my mama wouldn’t listen and she never got me one.”
I hugged the poor little boy and said how sorry I was. At the end of the party, I approached my son to share this news with him. I offered an idea, one that he surely would not easily accept. I challenged my sweet boy to giving beyond measure. I asked him to give his beloved costume to the boy who is mean to him. He resisted as any five year old would…but then he grew warmer…as it resonated with him…that this poor kid didn’t have parents who cared enough to buy him a costume on Halloween…this sad boy…who was angry at the world he was living in….
My son has several costumes to choose from in his bin of old costumes and some clearance play clothes. I suggested he could wear one of those that evening Trick or Treating and give his Flash costume to the boy. He agreed. God bless this child.
As all the kids were frantically packing up their backpacks with a suger induced frenzy at the end of the fun-filled day, I approached the teacher and asked permission to slip Cade’s costume into the boy’s backpack. I wrote a note to go in there with it that attempted to soften the pride with which this may be received. Cade and I approached the mean boy and told him he now had a costume for the night.
This sad little boy lit up with a big grin and said “wow!”.
And from that moment on, this little angry boy became this endearing child in need. My son saw the transformation. And best of all, my son saw how loving the ones that are angry and without… although difficult…feels good and right and good again.
We decided to take this on as a tradition every year at our school. This year, I sent my daughter off to school with TWO costumes. One for any kid without a costume, and my daughter would wear the other. In the car we talked about what a great idea this is and how we should do it every year. I reminded Cade of last year’s generous act and how that was such a great gift to this boy. It was now Cassidy’s turn to bless someone!
“Lets do this every year you guys! Wouldn’t that be a neat tradition?”
“Yeah- I like doing things like that.”
“We’re Carters…that’s what we do.”
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Mathew 7:12