David can be a difficult child.
He’s so stubborn. So strong-willed. He has an opinion about everything, and shares it even when he’s told to keep it to himself. Not a day goes by that we don’t discipline him for some sort of defiant behavior.
He’s not a bad kid. He doesn’t go around hitting his brother or pulling the dogs’ ears. It’s stuff like refusing to eat what we serve for dinner, or continuing to try to persuade us to let him stay up late after we’ve already told him no. Twice.
I know that if we can just harness his wilfulness, guide it into determination and conviction, he’ll be an outstanding man someday, and do something really great for the world.
The problem is when you’re banging you head every day on the brick wall that is David it’s hard to remember that. Also sometimes that brick wall gets in the way of seeing all his wonderful qualities. One of his best qualities is his big, loving heart. A heart that is sensitive, loyal, honest and generous. Once in awhile he’ll surprise us, and do something amazing that reminds us what a good kid he is.
Something like what he did on Wade’s birthday.
It’s been a practice for Wade’s short life that when Christmas or his birthday comes around I take David to the store to pick out a gift from him for Wade. We didn’t get to do that this year, because in the days before Wade’s birthday we were all so sick we barely left the house for a week.
So on the morning of Wade’s birthday David said, “I didn’t get a present for Wade.”
“That’s OK. Daddy and I got him something. He’s only two. He won’t even realize you didn’t give him a present.”
“I want to give him something. I think I have some toys in my room I don’t play with anymore. I can give him those.”
“OK, if you want to.”
So David went in his room. A few minutes later he came out with his hands full. He laid the gifts on the floor, and gave them to Wade one at a time. Dave chose three Matchbox cars, an illustrated Children’s Bible, a Spiderman action figure and a figurine of Snoopy on a motorcycle.
The children’s Bible made sense. We gave David a new Bible that was more age appropriate last Easter. The Matchbox cars didn’t surprise me too much, because David has so many he won’t miss three of them. What I couldn’t believe was that he gave Wade the Spiderman and Snoopy toys.
“David. Come here. Are you sure you want to give Wade Spiderman and Snoopy? I thought you really liked those toys?”
“I do, but he likes them too. He always wants to play with them.”
“OK, but if you give them to him you can’t take them back. They’re Wade’s. He’ll think they’re his, and if you try to take them away he’ll cry.”
“No, I want to give them to him. It’s OK. He can have them.”
Just like that David went from giving Wade toys he didn’t play with to giving him two of his favorite toys. I was stunned by his selflessness. What “toys” do I have that I love? My laptop, my digital camera, my Kitchen-aid Stand Mixer. Would I give those to someone just because they really liked them? No way!
So maybe David’s toys aren’t quite as valuable as mine, but still. This is the kid who won’t let me throw out a broken toy, because he’s so attached to it. But David’s love for his brother runs deep. I see it when David patiently teaches Wade how to build a tower with Legos. I see it when we’re outside and David takes it upon himself to explain to Wade why he can’t go in the road. “You’ll get hit by a car Wade. And you’ll die. And I’ll be really, really sad because you’re my little brother.” Sometimes when David gets candy at school for a treat or a prize he’ll even save a piece to bring home and give to Wade.
I don’t know how we got this kid with the enormous heart. I don’t think it’s anything we did.
David is pretty amazing.
He really is.