Do Unto Others…

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 wanted so badly to have a costume- and didn’t. 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 my child.

As all the kids were frantically packing up their backpacks with a sugar-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 boy and told him he now had a costume for the night.

This angry 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 unto 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

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  1. says

    Oh, Christine!!!! I am typing through tears here! I just can’t get over this. It is just the most loving and wonderful Halloween story I have ever heard.
    I am touched to my very core. What a loving and sweet soul your son is! You must be bursting with pride. (and BOY do you rock as a mom…and a person)

    (I also can’t believe…we have the *same* kind of saying, too! We’ll say, “Farnhams don’t let people sit alone at lunch”, etc.)

    Well, I know one thing. Carters are amazing!!!

    • says

      Thank you SO much Lisa!!! You are such a dear!! Yes, I still see this little boy every time I volunteer…he’s in a different class now, but I get a hug out of him and a smile most days. (And he still has a thick crust on his nose and the stink of days of dirt) I didn’t have time to catch up with him today to see if he brought the Flash costume back to wear again. I wondered all day though…if he had anything at all. From now on though- BOTH kids will bring an extra costume to school. It’s just what Carters do! 🙂 🙂 🙂 (LOVE that we both do that!)

  2. Stefanie Mayotte says

    Thank you Chris for the reminder to take everyday sitations and make them into God-teaching moments. Beautiful story.

    • says

      Thank you so much Stefanie for reading and sharing a comment!! SO excited to see you here!!! Yes, there are so many many situations we can use to teach our kids lessons of His love. It’s a cold world out there, and we are responsible for shining His light in it…any little way we can. 🙂

  3. Marcia says

    What an amazing story by (as said before) a glowing example of Christ’s love in action! Those are precious tidbits that those 2 precious cherubs of yours will hold dear and someday, share the same beautiful story with their children. One small ripple to spread for future generations. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, heartwarming story!

    • says

      Oh I love that! “One small ripple to spread for future generations”… so beautifully put Marcia!! I can only hope my kids really learn through our journey just that…”Christ’s love in action”. LOVE that too!!! Thanks so much for your comment my dear friend!!

  4. says

    I know Lisa has already chimed in with a GREAT comment, but I have to leave one, too. This is just an AMAZING story that has left me in tears! I LOVE what you taught not only your children in that moment but what you also taught that boy in need. Such an amazing lesson. BRAVO to you on rocking this mom gig!
    P.S. We also say a similar saying in our house! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks SO much Asley for taking the time to read and comment too!! It is truly exactly what you said…and then some, because to me the hardest part of the lesson was that my boy gave up his costume to not only someone in need…but the boy who was MEAN to him. It really took a little “nudging” though… LOL. I think I WOULD need that nudge too!

    • says

      What a compliment Tammy! It’s surely not always me, but this time… how would you not do what we did? You would have done the same thing my dear! You are a giving soul!!! Thanks SO much for your comment!!! 🙂

  5. Lynn says

    You are such an obedient child of God!!!! I thank God for you always! Thanks for this story…a reminder of our purpose on this earth! You are such a blessing and you are always quick to share your blessings with others and training your children to do the same…what a gift!! i love you my dear friend!

    • says

      Your entire comment just filled me up with so much encouragement and love, I am just glowing from the inside out! Thank you my dearest friend…thank you so much for taking the time to bless me today. 🙂

  6. says

    Okay, I teared up a bit. Although we don’t celebrate Halloween, I do allow my children to participate (dress out)in their school activites. When I was in 2nd grade, I remember how badly I wanted to participate in the schhol parade. We were not allowed to wear a costume. My 2nd grade teacher and I made a brown paper bag vest that I decorated and she gave me a mask. I was soooo happy to be able to dress out and participate. That experience have never left me. And I won’t take that opportunity from my kids. I try to strike a health balance. Although neglect wasn’t the issue for me, I could’ve easily been that kid in your son’s class. God. Bless. You. Great unselfish tradition!

    • says

      Yes! There are many many kids at our school that do NOT dress up for religious reasons. (Many are Muslim. I am guessing the Muslim Religion does not allow) They are always very very sad. I actually took a few of those kids under my wings yesterday as they cried through the parade. Broke my heart! A few of them made a paper costume like yours but others didn’t have one, not sure why. My daughter said this morning, “We should bring lots of costumes next year Mommy! Not just one! There were six kids that didn’t have one yesterday.” Oh dear, I do believe we started something!

  7. Candice says

    So cool to see this great story in writing sister! Great job! Hope this year’s extra costumes find great homes…I’m sure there are many little souls that could be brightened with them!

  8. Dulcis Bellatrix (Brittany Stanley) says

    My heart is bursting with warmth after reason this story. I am inspired to be a better person myself because of this! My son is very young yet, 18 months, but this story will resonate in my heart for many years to come and I know that one day there will be a time that the moral of this story will come to life in my own parenting with Jim. Thank you for your kindness and making the world just a little bit sweeter for everyone.

    • says

      WOW!! What a beautiful kind and powerful comment! Thank you so so much for reading and sharing your wonderful response to my story. You are such a dear soul for sharing of yourself. Hope you read more of my posts… 🙂 So grateful you stopped by!

    • says

      OH thanks you so much for visiting Melissa!! Thanks so much for your kind feedback too. 🙂 Come back soon, ya hear? Hope to check out your site too!!

  9. says

    The lesson that mean kids have things going on that we don’t know about that causes them to be mean is a lesson that will serve them so well in life. This is the sweetest story. You are raising two wonderful little people!

    • says

      Thanks so much Annmarie! Hoping and praying they stay this sweet through the tough years… I know I am at least giving them experiences that impact their hearts, and help them become aware of people’s pain and how to best serve them. Will see how it all goes. I’m sure we will be talking about ALL kinds of new stories in their teens!

    • says

      SO sweet! Yes, their hearts are good. I only pray they continue to keep them nice and loving and generous for the rest of their tender lives. Hershey…Hmm…sounds good. Think I’ll go grab another bar. LOL 🙂

  10. says

    Everyone’s gushing over your son, and with good reason, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize the mom behind this story. It’s not easy to see the lesson in the moment, and act all the way on it. It would be a tough task to convince a little boy – let alone YOUR little boy – to give up his costume to a kid he didn’t get along with.

    There was some risk there – but an enormous reward. This is what parents need to do. We can’t sit around and wait and hope that our kids will recognize the moment. We have to guide them. We have to take those experiences we might have had – that we thought of doing something sweet, but didn’t – and regretted ever since.

    So, props to mom for having the courage to lead. You’re an example to all of us.

  11. says

    Oh my goodness, did not expect to be crying after reading this:). What a heart-warming story!!! Congratulations on raising a very compassionate little son- I loved this!!!

    • says

      Thanks so much Becky!! I am so glad you stopped by and shared. Lets hope my boy continues to have a good heart. We are only at the beginning of this journey! So far, so good though. 🙂

  12. says

    Oh Christine…you hit the nail on the head with this one!! This is how my husband and I pastor. People ask us all the time, how can we be so forgiving to people who often leave our church or who speak evil of us, and we tell them they’re only doing that because THEY are hurting. It is so true that hurt people, HURT people. Everyone has a backstory and until we’re willing to give of ourselves in order to put ourselves in others’ shoes, we’ll never fully understand this love walk. What an awesome lesson you taught your son. As always, thanks for the reminder and thanks for sharing my friend! xoxoxoxo

    • says

      Thanks so much Michell! It is such a good lesson to see beyond the hurtful words or actions. There is pain, and we must love the pain and shine grace on the wounded. It is not an easy task. But God calls us to share His love even to the un-loveable. I pray my kids can continue to live this truth!! (Btw- what a tragic story you shared. I just cannot imagine. My heart just breaks for this family. Lifting them up and praying for God’s Holy comfort to embrace them)

  13. says

    {Melinda} I absolutely LOVE that, Chris!! We always think of doing things like that at Christmas, but not at other holidays. I always pray over my children that God will soften their hearts and give them hearts of compassion. You are doing such a good job of working with the Holy Spirit to give your kids soft hearts. 🙂

    • says

      Thanks so much Melinda! I really believe in every day giving…and my kids know it. I try to make it a part of “who we are” and “what we do”. They come with me to drop off flowers to a woman who is suffering, a friend who needed a care package, food to a neighbor who is sick. Etc Etc Etc. I want to teach them most importantly how to serve others…not only the ones we love, but more importantly…the ones we don’t. Praying they continue to join me in always seeing the need and doing something about it. Hoping I have layed the foundation for how they live…will see!

      • says

        {Melinda} Yes, everyday giving … love that. When I am tuned into opportunities to do that, I find that God puts people in our path to bless. And usually, we end up getting the biggest blessing by giving of our time, concern and/or money.

        • says

          God has a way of doing that doesn’t He? 🙂 The hard part for me is when I flat out see the need/person/situation/opportunity at hand…and think “Oh, I am too busy to deal. Too tired to deal. Too fried, gave too much, worked too hard, what about me?” I try so hard to step THROUGH those feelings to the other side and truly allow God to give me the strength and discernment I need to do the right thing. The needs/people/situations/opportunites are endless…

    • says

      Thanks so much Robin! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Hoping my kids truly get the need and how we have just so much to give of ourselves… our tiime, our money, our things, our patience, our energy, our prayers, our attention, our love.

  14. Heather says

    Chris!!! What a BEAUTIFUL story!! Where do I begin!? You and Cade were (and are) a shining example of Gods love and how we are called to serve His people. Kids live what they learn and kudos to you for teaching your kids compassion, understanding, a helping hand, love and Jesus. It always broke my heart to see the neglected kids in Russell’s classes. One boy always sticks out in my mind, he was always hungry, dirty and neglected. We had a similar situation with a book fair, all of the kids excited with their lists to take home to their parents so they could buy their books. The neglected boy had a list and was so excited, I found out this happens with every fair and his parents never buy him books. I gave their teacher money to pay for all of the books on his list and my friend did the same for his twin sister in another class. Seeing the joy and excitement on his face was AWESOME! He didn’t know I paid for them and that was a ok with me. There were a handful of neglected kids who clearly didn’t get love at home it’s so hard to see. Always wanted to report the parents. Anyway, what a kind and generous little boy you have there and i know his sister is just the same. You have started a wonderful tradition, not just at Halloween but a tradition of making your kids charitable people. You my friend are awesome!!! <3

    • says

      AW! Thanks soooo much Heather!!! You are such a generous and kind soul! You have so many gifts you are passing on to your beautiful children as well. Thank you so much for commenting dear friend!!! 🙂

  15. Sue Theimer says

    Love reading all the comments on your beautiful story. Moms are so very important as teachers of the basic principle of the caring and loving of one another.

    • says

      Yes, it is critical that we teach our children basic principles of loving others, respect, and responsibility. If I fail at that, then I am not doing my job well at all. I know the hard years are to come, but for now- I will try to cultivate a heart of respect, responsibility and love in my children…and pray it continues to grow.

    • says

      I was, and I burst with pride for Cass who thought of the idea of bringing even more costumes next year for kids without. I love their giving hearts!!! 🙂

  16. says

    Oh my gosh Christine I’m crying!! This touched me soooo deeply!!! What an absolutely beautiful story, and such wise parenting that will stay with your child all his life, and the other young boy will never forget this act of kindness! I’m sending this to my sister who just posted on her Face book looking for costumes for kids in need..and how when she gave one boy the costume, he said, “this is going to be the best Halloween ever!!” An annual costume giving is a wonderful idea!!! You blessed my day!!

    • says

      Aw! I’m so glad you came by to read this one, Kathy! Last year made my heart SWELL, watching this one girl with her head down on her desk as the other kids were excitedly getting their costumes on. I came over to her with a bag of these really lovely costumes including many of Cassidy’s dance recital outfits. She lit UP. She turned into this beautiful ballerina… And GLOWED. 🙂 I love that your sister is doing the SAME thing!

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