The Cub Scout Pack meeting was especially fun this time. The boys all made paper airplanes and flew them in groups through a snowstorm of newspaper “snowballs” thrown by the other cubs. My Sam, a Tiger Cub (the youngest group), made an airplane by himself and flew it several times through the barrage. It made it through a couple of times!
We walked the three blocks home in the rain. Sam held my leg tightly as we splashed through the puddles and I let go of the mess he was making of his uniform. He was free and so was I.
A Different Kind of Bedtime
When we got home, the ordinarily strong-willed Sam was different. He very cooperatively allowed me to help him get ready for bed and read a story to him. I told him what a great night I’d had and how much fun I was having being his dad. He responded by offering me the airplane he’d been clutching all evening. “Are you sure, Sam?” I asked. “It’s so important to you. You’ve been holding on to it for over an hour!” “Yes,” he said. “You can keep it for now. I can get it back later.” I was noticeably touched by his gesture.
Sharing his Love
Sam saw my reaction and announced that he’d gotten me a Valentine’s gift. He scanned his room, then said, “Here, Dad, you can have this.” He reached over to the foot of his bed and carefully picked up his back-up blanket and handed it to me. This blanket is just like the one he’s been sleeping with for years, except newer, and, therefore, not nearly as desirable. He did, however keep it within arm’s reach, just in case. “What?” I said. I was blown away. “Sam, this is your blanket.” I was now in a full-out cry. As tears rolled down my face, Sam said, “You keep it Dad. You snuggle with it and pretend it’s me, and I’ll snuggle with mine and pretend it’s you! And when that one gets more worn out, you can give it back to me.” Truth be told, I’d secretly wanted this blanket.
The Generosity of a 6-Year Old
Seeing how touched I was again by his overwhelming generosity, he went again to the foot of his bed where there was his usual display of stuffed dogs and picked one. He handed me the smallest, a palm-sized Dalmatian. “You can have this, too.” I knew I had to get out of there soon, or I’d be carrying an armload by the time I finally left. “Thank you, Sam. You’re very generous. I love you.” “I love you too, Dad. Goodnight.” “Goodnight, Sam.”
The Looking Glass
With my paper airplane, blanket, and Dalmatian in tow, I left Sam, feeling like I’d stepped through the looking glass. Had I entered a parallel universe? This experience was quite unlike most of my experiences with Sam. That night, I’d let something go. I’d released all expectations of how he “should” behave and just allowed him to be. In the process, I allowed me to be as well. In that allowing, in that surrender, I found freedom and joy like I’d never before experienced with Sam. I allowed myself to love.
My reward is a silk and flannel rainbow tie-dyed blanket … that feels just like Sam when I snuggle with it.
About the Author
Jeff Youngs is an author, consultant and coach. He is engaged in consulting
with the Executive Suite in organizations facilitating a clear vision and
direction for the company, their communication, growth and future. He is
equally skilled at looking at internal communication channels and
strategies, defining breakdowns and providing solutions that meet the needsand culture of the organization – and creating brand strategy including written communications, visual presentations and brand narratives. He has served clients as diverse as IBM, State Farm, Merck, McDonald’s, as well as many small-to-medium sized businesses.