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  • The Toy

    April 2, 2009

    At the church I attend, there is a dentist who has a ministry to provide dental services to children and adults all around the world who are desperately poor and often debilitated by their dental problems; people who cannot get even the most basic of care.

    On his mission trips, Dr. B. takes with him toys from fast food meals.  Every child he treats is given a new, unopened toy and it is astonishing how much it means to them.  To me, these toys are a nuisance and junk to be thrown away at the first opportunity, but to these children who have nothing they are treasure.

    So, every time we get a fast food meal, I snag the toy and stash it under the seat and then when I get a small collection, I take them to church for Dr. B’s ministry.

    So then yesterday, after enjoying a particularly delightful day at the park, we stopped at Sonic on the way home. When the meal came, I removed the toy and tossed it into the backseat while Sean was unawares.  But, as we were driving home, he spied it and asked if he could have it.

    I took that opportunity to tell him about Dr. B’s ministry and how there are children who don’t  have one single toy. Not one. I was hoping to stir up a little charitable compassion in his heart.

    “Sean,” I said, “You don’t care about that toy. You won’t even play with it for one second.  You have so many toys, we can’t even keep them all in the house!”

    “Well, I want this one!” he said adamantly. “I really do.”

    “That’s fine,” I said. “It’s your toy and your choice, but I want you to think about it. I want you to think about how many toys you have. I want you to think about if you reallllly want this toy.  And then I want you to think about those children who have not even one toy.”

    No sound came from the backseat.  I was hoping he was envisioning a little boy, just like himself.

    And then I heard the sound of the plastic crinkling and pulling and stretching.

    “Once you open the toy, I can’t give it to Dr. B.,” I said.  “He can only take toys that haven’t been opened yet.”

    More crinkling, pulling and stretching. I could see in my rear view mirror that the toy had been freed from the plastic.

    I didn’t say anything more. And I’ll be honest here, I was a little disappointed in my child.  I had hoped my little speech would inspire in him a charitable spirit.

    When we got to the house, I pulled in the garage and started unloading the car. I went in the house with an armload of stuff but when I came back out to the garage for the second load, he was still in his car seat with the toy in his hands and the plastic in his lap.

    He wouldn’t look at me but I could see on his face the tremendous weight of sadness. Tears rimmed his eyes and just then one spilled over and trickled down.

    “Mom, I changed my mind,” he sobbed, “I want to give this toy away.”

    Remorse is the most bitter brand of sad.

    “Sean, I’m sorry, but you already opened it. We can’t give it away now. It’s yours to keep.”

    “I’m sorry!” he whispered through his tears, “I wish I hadn’t…”

    “Yeah, me too dude. Some things can’t be undone.”

    He continued to sob and I left him to it as I took another load in the house.

    Minutes later he came in the house with the toy.  He went to the drawer where I keep the zip lock bags. Sobbing the whole time, he took the toy and put it in a zip lock and then he brought it to me.

    I took the toy and wiped his tears, but said nothing more.  He put his head in my lap and continued to sob while I stroked his hair.

    * * *

    This morning, I sit down at my desk with my coffee and my calendar to see about the day and I am confronted with a zip lock bag that contains a cheap fast food toy and the remorse of a small boy.

    I look at the bag and I have no idea what to do with it. (Not a solicitation for advice.)

    * * *

    All that can be said has been said.  Comments are closed at this time.

    83 Comments

    1. mary says:

      You tell him that we all struggle with choices and that he is just a little boy and that you are proud of how wise he is at this age. You tell him that there will be more chances to give and that this one toy did not make or break that opportunity.

      * * *
      Of course there will be more chances, but I hope, and pray, that this one toy broke his heart in such a way to grow in him a heart of charity and compassion. I think I’ll keep that toy in the zip lock around as a visual reminder. For all of us. AM

      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:31 am

    2. Lona says:

      You write it down, first of all. In his baby book, or another mommy memories book. Do it now.

      Then you thank God that he has made your son a special way, and you ask Him to continue to grow him into the man he’s going to be. The world needs more people who can say they are sorry for what they have done. It needs more who learn the bitter taste of remorse early, before it is life-scarring.

      What a great post! Keep on keepin’ on…

      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:59 am

    3. Nette says:

      I was thinking the same thing, AM. Keep it around a little longer for a reminder. Maybe later you could go to a local charity, and he could ceremoniously give it to the collector-of-the-toys person.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:00 am

    4. Heather @ Not a DIY Life says:

      Wow, what a story to start the morning with. I pray this early lesson in giving to others stays with him for a long time. Can the toy be donated to a battered women’s shelter? There are kids there that have had to leave everything behind.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:01 am

    5. JoLyn says:

      I like the idea of keeping it around as a reminder. Then maybe you could give him an opportunity very soon to make the same choice again, maybe even start a collection. That way you could turn the bitter memory into something good. Show him that the experience changed him.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:05 am

    6. Janelle says:

      It’s such a hard lesson to learn for little boys and even their Mama’s! My heart hurts for him.

      I wouldn’t keep it around, I’d send it to Goodwill. I know how my soul hurts when I’ve made the wrong choice and then tried to make amends. I don’t like reminders of my bad decisions hanging around, so I wouldn’t keep it. But maybe the reminders are good?

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:11 am

    7. Donna @ Way More Homemade says:

      Awwww. I love it when they are learning and try to do the right thing.

      I have long done the same thing as our church takes the toys on mission trips to Mexico and such. I have had to examine my own motives as many times I just don’t want the toys becoming junk around my house. I have begun doing exactly as you and putting the decision in the hands of my kids, especially the 8 year old. Sometimes I push it more than others and they make the decision to give it way about half the time.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:19 am

    8. Tom says:

      Guess I got here late. I’m with those who say keep it as a reminder. You’ve got a good son there, and you’re helping him develop a charitable heart, gently, one small step at a time. Carry on.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    9. Kay says:

      What a great post! It’s hard (on us too) when our kids have to learn something. I’ve held my daughter on more than one occasion as she cried out a bad decision. But it’s a good thing to learn with something ‘small’ like a toy. Life just gets bigger as you grow. I’d say keep it around. Not ‘in your face’ kinda keeping it..but as a gentle reminder. Maybe give it away later on. And I have a feeling he will think about it next time around.

      And you will too. : )

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:57 am

    10. Bitsy says:

      Your story is a beautifully written metaphor for the decisions we make every day. Thank God for the amazing grace he gives us. Make sure he knows that he is forgiven.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 10:15 am

    11. Amy says:

      I love, love, LOVE the way you see life with your son! Your writing is such an inspiration.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 10:38 am

    12. Lamont Cranston says:

      Boy, you really slathered on the guilt. I remember my Mom doing the same thing when I was that age. Using guilt like a hammer to beat me into making what she thought was the right decisions. I often decided the other way, just to not cave to being manipulated, and then felt like hell for a while.

      Lamont

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:06 am

    13. Shoe says:

      Sean is very young. Why not hide the toy in an egg for Easter and just say it is another one that the bunny brought. Lessons are hard and charity is hard for a small one. Life can be hard to grasp. He’ll grow up fine with an understanding of right and wrong, giving back, donations/giving and charity.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:07 am

    14. TeacherMommy says:

      I have to stick up for you here, in response to Lamont. I know from guilt. My grandmother was the matriarch and grand purveyor of guilt. What you did was NOT laying on the guilt or “using it as a hammer.” You gave him a choice. I think it’s significant that HE is the one who realized that he felt badly about his choice, and that you did not chastise him for making that choice. And when he did what he could to make up for it, you accepted it without comment and gave him comfort.

      May God me give me such wisdom and grace when the time comes.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:37 am

    15. Jeni says:

      Oh! That made me tear up. These lessons can only be learned the hard way – that it feels so much better to give & to share than to keep for yourself.

      What a sweet boy you have.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:38 am

    16. Pat says:

      You’re very wise to have let him make his decision about this. We all do things we regret, and by his having made his choice, he will remember it much longer. He is a sweet little boy with a tender heart.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:50 am

    17. Nette says:

      I can’t sit quiet, either, after having read the comment by Lamont. I’m sorry for Lamont that guilt was laid upon him in such a way that it turned him against the better choices at hand.
      I think using guilt like a hammer, on your part, would have sounded more like this: “Now don’t you feel bad? You opened a toy to keep all to yourself when there are children out there with no toys at all! You should be very ashamed of yourself. I don’t know how you can have any fun with that toy now!!!”

      My, oh my. Can you imagine? You, AM, did nothing close to that. You did not, in my opinion, use guilt. You simply appealed to his feelings for charity, laying out the fact that his decision cannot be undone and after having time to process it, he realized he wanted to change his mind.
      What a sweet boy you and AD are raising and you’re doing a fine job at it…in my opinion!!

      April 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    18. Blog Antagonist says:

      Keep it. And some other day in the future, when he is wrestling with something even stronger than the love of a small boy for a colorful toy, take it out and tell him the story.

      I think it will be a powerful tool. And those aren’t just dropped in our laps very often.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    19. Skip says:

      It was a fine teaching moment. You made your point, and it’s a good one.

      Now it’s time to make things a little better — give him a hug.

      He’ll remember this for a long time. As time goes on just raise the question, and let him make the decision: “Would you like to give toy to Dr. B. personally so that he can give it to a little boy who doesn’t have any toys?”

      Then abide by his decision without further comment. He’ll quickly get the idea that he has to make the decision and the responsibility is on his shoulders.

      He’s only 5 and won’t always think of others. He’ll do better.

      Give the Moose a hug for us.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    20. Terry says:

      Thank God for moments like this one. They come too seldom for most parents and children. We are so often in a hurry we miss the little moments that mold our character.I am so glad for the two of you to have had this one. It is a blessing to be a part of your child’s growing awareness of his emotion’s and choices.

      Perhaps you can take him and his bag to Dr.B.’s ministry basket and let your son help Dr.B. collect more toy’s through a toy drive of some kind.God is certainly at work here for some reason.

      Blessings to you and your amazing son.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    21. Blog Antagonist says:

      Oh, and….

      There is a distinct line between wielding guilt as a weapon, and teaching compassion, empathy, and charity.

      Guilt is destructive. But nothing bad can come of the lesson Sean learned today.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    22. BooMama » Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 04.02.09 says:

      […] This post of Antique Mommy’s makes my heart hurt in a whole host of bittersweet […]

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    23. Jennifer says:

      It’s a hard lesson, but it sounds like he’s learned. I bet from now on, he will hand you the toy out of his kid’s meal for Dr. B’s ministry. Sometimes regret is the best teacher.

      * * *
      I wasn’t asking him to to hand over the toy and I wouldn’t accept it under duress. I was trying to encourage in him a heart that gives out of compassion. It was his decision to make and I would have been fine with it either way. I didn’t guilt him into any particular choice. I did want him to think about a few things before he made that decision. And yes, regret is a good teacher.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    24. Melanie says:

      I see a little project in the making.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    25. Jodie@The Sky Is Only Dark Between the Stars says:

      You are doing such a good job.

      And Sean sounds like a fantastic little boy.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    26. Bee says:

      When my daughter was little, she carried around a drawstring bag with little toys like that in it. For some reason unknown to us, she called it her Conscince Bag. I saved the bag and put things for her to remember home by when she went away to school. I think Sean’s little bag should be saved for him, so that when he’s grown into the fine young man that I’m sure he’ll grow into, he can see the beginnings of that manhood.

      Thanks again for a beautiful, although a little sad, story.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    27. gretchen says:

      Wow. i have no advice for you for clearly you don’t need it.

      I’m in awe that you allowed him to really feel this.

      But it still makes me sad.

      I’m sure God feels the same about us. He’s glad when we “get it”, but i know it grieves him to see us in pain.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    28. Ann G says:

      Could you give me his contact info or a way to contact you? I have a big rubbermaid container of these kids meal toys. I’ve been collecting them to give away for just such a cause…just didn’t know who to give them to!

      April 2nd, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    29. Monica @ Writer Chic says:

      I haven’t been reading AM for a while, but came over via a BooMama link. I’m SO glad I did. It made me tear up, but it made me think and it made me stop and pray that I will be as wise a mother to my Seth as you, AM, are to Sean.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    30. Kjaxx says:

      Children are very perceptive. I wonder how much of Sean’s reaction was from his consideration of this other child he doesn’t know half way around the world and how much of it was in response to your obvious disappointment in his choice.

      Personally, I think his response was relative to yours. By you telling him beforehand that he didn’t care about the toy and wouldn’t play with it, I think you loaded the choice to where even if he chose the toy (as he did) he would have a hard time enjoying it because he knew it wasn’t what you wanted him to do.

      I think the great teaching moment came when you told him that his decision couldn’t be undone. In my opinion that part was the invaluable lesson.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    31. Amy says:

      What a valuable lesson you taught him. It’s so hard to understand as a child how decisions have long-term impacts that can’t always be undone, but hopefully his eyes have been opened.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    32. tom says:

      “Lamont Cranston” is the name of the Shadow, from the old radio show. We have ourselves a troll.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    33. bonniebeth says:

      I can’t tell you what to do….

      But had it been me, I would apologize to my son. It was his toy to decide to keep or donate…and he made his decision. I would have waited until he grew tired of the toy , and then pointed out that he didn’t really play with the toy that much and maybe next time, he might consider donating the toy instead of keeping it.

      God loves a cheerful giver, remember.

      And maybe if you bought a children’s meal for yourself next time and got the toy and told him that you were going to donate the toy, maybe Sean would want to donate his, too….and maybe not.

      * * *
      Clearly our parenting styles are different. I have nothing for which to apologize. I simply asked him to think about a few things before he decided. He made a decision and immediately regretted it. I feel it was a life lesson and those often come with tears.. ~AM

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    34. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com says:

      Ooh, this broke my heart a little bit.

      Maybe a good solution would be for him to bring the other toys to Dr. B himself? Or maybe the two of you could bring some of his older, unwanted toys to a Salvation Army type place, so that he feels like he’s redeemed his change of heart?

      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    35. Gwen says:

      Dear AM,

      I read this post earlier and since it bothered me I thought I’d come back and put in my 2 cents. I guess I won’t now since I agree with bonniebeth and lamont.

      And, Tom, when a commenter doesn’t agree with the blogger does that mean the commenter is automatically a “troll”?

      April 2nd, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    36. Tom says:

      Gwen – no, not necessarily.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    37. Rachel says:

      Wow! Have you ever considered writing devotionals?? What a great children’s devotional that I think hubby and are going to tell, about a sweet little boy Sean who had a hard choice to make. Also, could you email me Dr. B’s contact info. We have four kids 6 and under and have a ton of these silly toys. I would love to donate them instead of just throwing them away. (my kids still think Sonic doesn’t give out toys) lol.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    38. Amy says:

      Beautifully written.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    39. Jenn says:

      I’m a new reader, and I think what you did… was excellent. Thank you for sharing your story!

      I’m a single woman with no kids, but because of dieting, I often find myself with a Hello Kitty this, or a racecar that, from the many kids meals (smaller portions) I buy. Could you send me Dr. B’s contact info too?

      Thanks!!

      April 2nd, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    40. Pam D says:

      Came over here from BooMama’s and loved this post. I totally understand WHAT you did and WHY. My question is; did you put that last part of the last sentence (in parentheses) in later, or was that part of the original post? I didn’t take your post as a solicitation for advice or invitation to critique your parenting style. I just took it as a moment in time that you were sharing, and a special and beautiful moment at that. Thanks for sharing; I hope the negative responses don’t stop you from being so open next time.

      Blessings….

      * * *
      Added later, and yes, sometimes the criticism gives me pause especially considering I don’t try to present myself as the perfect mother who has it all figured out.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    41. Pam says:

      Thanks for letting us know that your little boy is very human. It helps me parent a very human little boy too. And God knows that my boy has a very human Mommy.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    42. happy geek says:

      Sometimes the best lessons are the ones that we learn the hard way.
      How many times have I put something in a baggie desperately trying to change the choice that I made? It’s a good mom who teaches her child that sometimes while the heart can change the consequences of the actions remain.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    43. mythoughtsonthat says:

      “Remorse is the most bitter brand of sad”….Oh yes, it is!

      And the idea to keep that ziplock bag as a reminder? Awesome!

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    44. Katherine says:

      Thank you for sharing this story. I hope that I will recognize these moments like you do–moments when I can help my child consider compassion, charity and kindness. Devotionals are wonderful tools, but I think the real life lessons stick with kids better. I’m sure Sean will never forget the lesson he learned with that little toy, and I agree with you that you have nothing for which to apologize. Sean seems to have been crying because he realized he’d made a choice he wished he hadn’t made, not because his mommy said something to upset him. I cried a little with him.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    45. Nancy says:

      Wow. It is so hard for us to step back and let our children experience the natural consequences of their decisions. But it is essential to do it, so we eventually raise adults who have compassion and character. Too many of us want happy kids, all the time, at all costs . . . which can produce disastrous results later. Good job letting him decide and experience regret.
      — Nancy

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    46. HarryJacksMom says:

      Thank you – I needed that very much today. Tho I do it in a much less eloquent way, we had a similar lesson this week and I felt about the same way when it was over. We were in a restroom this morning and I told them how disappointed I was in their earlier behavior (not that lesson) and an older lady reprimanded me “these days will pass too soon, please don’t be hard on them.” It’s had me boiling all afternoon, so thank you – Sean’s lesson and your wisdom will go far beyond Texas today and support those trying to achieve a similar goal of good, strong boys :hug:

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    47. Faerylandmom says:

      Thank you for your open heart, AM.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    48. Stacy says:

      Thank you for sharing this story, AM. Teaching charity is such a hard thing for little kids to grasp. Their world revolves around them, and compassion and emphathy is something that needs to be shown to them. My children have so much that I never had as a child (of a purely materialistic sort), and I try to teach them that not every child has so much toy bounty. It seems some think you should isolate your child from such feelings as remorse. Yes, it is sad that he felt bad, but kids need to LEARN. That is how we help create little people we are so very proud of calling our own.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    49. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      You know, I really needed this reminder of the excess my children live in and the opportunities there are to teach them compassion. Choices are hard. Sometimes we sacrifice. Sometimes we just wish we would have. But I think the sacrifice is sometimes less painful than the regret of choosing not to do it.

      Thanks for being real.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    50. Alice says:

      This kind of post is why I appreciate your blog so much. I’m not sure I would have handled it exactly the same…or if my way would have been better but I so appreciate your being vulnerable and real. Shoot, I don’t even know what “my way” would have been. It’s awfully easy to imagine what I’d do in a situation but a whole different thing being there.

      I know as a parent that the hardest things I’ve faced are the times where I know my son needed to learn a hard lesson. My Mommy instinct is to make it all better, to go for the short term happiness but often the harder more painful but better thing to do is to let them experience something hard and learn from it. It sucks but it’s part of the job.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    51. Pam says:

      The grandma in me wants to say you were very hard on Sean…the grandma that also raises her grandson…gets it.

      Sometimes teaching life lessons is more painful for us than them, people.
      Well done AM.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    52. zoom says:

      I so admire you for teaching your child values.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    53. Carrie says:

      I think you did a great job and he ultimately made the right choice even if it was a bit too late. He’ll be even more likely to give in the future.

      I know with my 5yo, the concept of giving away a toy (even one that she’s long outgrown) is *tough*–unless she sees the kid or the parent of the kid, and then it’s less abstract. The other day we gave away a toddler-sized yard swing and she pitched a hissy fit until we went outside to meet the woman who was picking it up, and then all was fine because she was able to connect that it really was going someplace and was going to be loved by someone.

      It might be neat if the dentist could come around to some of the children’s Sunday school classes, talk about his ministry, show pictures, etc. to make this more concrete for the young ones. Just a thought! Sounds to me like you’re doing a good job. 🙂

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    54. hillary isaacson says:

      i came here from boomama’s blog. i just can’t not say something! i’m so encouraged and inspired by you. i just wanted to be one more person to encourage you rather than criticize. (which i don’t get, by the way. why read someone’s blog if you don’t like what they say?!)

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    55. April says:

      Wow, you got yourself some advice! Whew, I hope you’ve learned a lesson…

      You’re one heck of an amazing mom. I know I’m thankful that YOU’RE the one raising your unique little boy and not some of those doling out the advice;)

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    56. Heide says:

      I, too, am trying to raise a compassionate son. I don’t think I’m doing nearly as well as you are. Sometimes the hardest lessons for the kids to learn are the hardest ones for us to let them learn. Thank you for sharing this story, despite some of the reactions.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    57. Milissa says:

      Wish we lived in the same town and I could donate my kid’s meal toys to this dentist. I often get a kid’s meal and then I look around for a kiddo to give it to. Sometimes I’m in luck and I see a kid in the restaurant I can give it to. Sometimes I don’t…then I give the toy back and ask the cashier to give it to the next kid that comes through and doesn’t order a kid’s meal. (Many moons ago I used to work fast food…and I know many parents share part of their meal with their kiddos or have the kiddos split meals.) I’ll never know if they actually give those toys out but I hope they do as they’ve already been paid for. So blah, blah, blah…I’d love to save a stash of toys for the dentist or someone like him.

      I think it was an incredible teaching moment…nice job AM. And I agree with the reader that says keep it around for a little while…then tuck it away until Sean is wrestling with some other really tough life choice and take it out and talk about it again. Heck, why just save it for Sean…take it out when anyone in the Antique circle of loved ones is having a tough time making a choice and talk about it. 🙂

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    58. Debbie says:

      I am an elementary school social worker and I talk to students everyday about making a good (or in most cases) a better choice. I wish more parents would talk to their children about the choices they make. Once a choice is made it is difficult to change the outcome. I think this is an excellent life lesson for him and I applaud the way you dealt with it. I don’t think you have to keep it around as a reminder. God is working in his heart and that precious son of yours does have a tender heart for the Lord. He’ll remember. You are the best antique mommy!

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    59. Kathy says:

      You do well, AM.

      I’m with another poster who asked for an address to send those kind of toys. I’m sure quite a few of your visitors have a bag of those that Dr B could take to kiddos.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    60. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia says:

      Your story strikes a chord in me today. I took Brennan on a special “mommy-son” date, our first ever. I took him back to the place that I went with him while he was in my tummy to do something special and bond with him. Didn’t know he was a boy…I picked a tea room. ha! a good unisex one though. 🙂 anyway, as I drove into the parking lot, I started to tell him, “Not all mommies get to take their sons on special dates like this. There is a whole world out there that doesn’t get to enjoy going to a nice place for an outing and that many little boys in the world don’t even know what it’s like to have a special time out with their mommies. This little date of ours is a gift from God and a real blessing for us not to take for granted.” I was telling him this just as much for me as him, with tears rolled down my eyes. We are blessed. The only 2.5 month little boy had no idea what I was really talking about, but hopefully one day…

      April 2nd, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    61. Jerriann says:

      I say;
      1. You are an amazing mother
      2. He is an amazing son.
      3. Lesson learned.
      4. Put it away, whether that is throw it away or stash it away.
      5. Then let him actively collect for this ministry.

      You touched my heart through the simple telling of this story, but it is your son’s reaction that says the most.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    62. Nicky says:

      Your stories always make me wish for a “do over” in raising my girls. Too late…they’re raising their own. And doing a much better job than I ever did.

      Sean is a lucky little boy to have you for his Mother.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    63. Steffj89 says:

      i agree with how you handled it and i also agree with several of the posters who would love such a cause to send our unwanted toys to….wanna have a toy drive?
      steff

      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    64. Tonggu Momma says:

      What a good reminder – for all of us – that a change of heart doesn’t necessarily change the consequences.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    65. missy @ its almost naptime says:

      I can so see this exact same scene being played out with my 5 year old son.

      Oh, thank God for such sweet little boys. Such a blessing to be their mothers and witness their hearts grow.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    66. Baby Favorite says:

      I think you absolutely did the right thing, no matter how hard or bittersweet.

      So many parents these days are afraid to disappoint their children–even if it means bettering them in the long run. Those lessons are sometimes hard, but necessary. You were selfless and brave enough to make a point of trying to instill some compassion in your son. Plenty of parents could stand to take lessons from you, rather than judge.

      As always, I admire you.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    67. Jenny-Jenny says:

      How could you have possibly done this any better? Thank you for sharing a sweet day. As Mothers we find ourselves in spots like this and we all wonder if we made the right decision on this or that. I am just so thankful that God is there and loves me even when I have to try using a ziplock now and then.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    68. Jenny-Jenny says:

      Ditto Baby Favorite.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    69. Sharon M says:

      I think that you are doing an awesome job raising Sean. You really set a great example for many readers, even though that is not your intention.

      I work in an elementary school and am constantly amazed/puzzled that so many parents are not teaching basic manners to their children, let alone compassion, empathy and charity. Instead they seem to be giving their children the message that the world revolves around their child.

      Keep up the great work. I want Sean to come to my school.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    70. Lilly says:

      Hi everybody. I admire Antique Mommy and think she is an awesome sensitive and imaginative parent. That said, I have to say that I felt for Sean while reading this post. I grew up in a very devout family and I felt guilty much of my childhood because I could never do enough. I sympathize with the remorse Sean felt even though he hadn’t done anything wrong. He had decided to keep the toy which was a valid choice. Perhaps he would have given the next toy to charity. I’m not a troll and others that commented less positively aren’t trolls either. From the bits that I’ve read here, I think that Sean is a naturally compassionate soul. I don’t like to think of him carrying the burden of guilt for choosing not to be compassionate this once.

      April 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    71. mrhc says:

      No advice from me, especially since you are not soliciting it. Instead, a bravo for a lesson that was just as difficult (if not more so) for you the parent to carry out as it was for him in that moment to receive.

      I remember a different lesson with one of my brothers that influenced how I dealt with my children in stores. It’s the smallest things sometimes that linger for the good and the rest of our lives.

      The way you’ve written about your boy indicates that he is a compassionate being. You are right to talk about the whys and wherefores now, not later. Now is the time for that foundation building and you do get that part of parenting. Keep on practicing, no matter how hard it is on either of you. Again, Bravo!

      April 3rd, 2009 at 12:20 am

    72. ginger says:

      Thanks for a thought-provoking post. I came over after BooMama linked to it. I think that this story stirred up some deep feelings in several of us. I felt badly for AM’s son I read this post, but I don’t know her or her son. I know what I would have done with each of my children & it would have been different for each one of them. Choices are hard for children & for parents, each for their own reasons.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 12:26 am

    73. Cheryl says:

      My mother taught me something that has stayed with me my entire life. She frequently told me that life is all about choices, and that good or bad, they are mine to make, they can’t be undone, and I must live with the consequences. You have taught Sean this lesson…it’s so important, and it will stay with him forever and he will be a better person because of it. With every glimpse that is revealed of your life with your son, I see you teaching him compassion, fairness, generosity, loyalty, and so many other good things. I can only imagine what a fine man he will become. Nicely done, AM.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 12:26 am

    74. Southern Fried Gal says:

      So sweet. I teared up reading this.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 1:05 am

    75. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      You could always stick some cast-aside bread crusts in the bag too and send it off anyway.

      (*WINK*)

      Not that you need my approval, but I did like the way you handled that. I’m pretty impressed at Sean’s sensitive spirit.

      You know, I heard something at my adoption training a couple months back. Did you know that a child’s “sense of justice” hits high gear around age 10? My 7YO is all about “it’s not fair,” but that’s more about HIM and not THE WORLD. Anyway, I would have guessed the age to be older than 10. The recommendation was to introduce your child to the injustices of the world around this time. Hmm, that’s interesting to me.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 2:23 am

    76. Shawna says:

      I love that you wrote “not a solicitation for advice,” clarifying that your question was indeed rhetorical. Not that your warning was heeded. 🙂

      What a moving story in the midst of the regular day-to-day activities with children. I am struggling with teaching my Kaya to share my views and values right now, and she is sure fighting it, being as headstrong as her momma. She’s really reminding me right now that her salvation and her beliefs are in the Lord’s hand. Telling her what to believe and what to do is not enough. Just doing what I do and showing her how I live what I believe and praying my little heart out are the only things I can really to. My girls are so in God’s hands…thank goodness. But sometimes I sure wish I had more control over them!!! 🙂

      shawna-mygirls.blogspot.com

      April 3rd, 2009 at 2:59 am

    77. Diamond says:

      I did not read all the comments,seems about split, many different kinds of “free” advice.
      This is a thought for Sean, he could start a fast food unopened toy drive.
      Word spreads and TA DA. One toy that a small child held for his own, becomes many toys for many children.
      Of course he would need your help and guidance. Something like that would make the little guys heart sing.Even if he only got two donations he would be ahead of the present.
      Take Care and God Bless
      Diamond

      April 3rd, 2009 at 3:55 am

    78. diamond says:

      Hmm went on and read a few more posts and Steffj89 had the idea for a toy drive so far that makes for two readers on the same page. Can’t read all the post.
      Good Luck
      Diamond

      April 3rd, 2009 at 4:01 am

    79. edj says:

      Wow. It’s pretty cool that he felt the remorse. I would be very encouraged, AM. And this will probably stick in his memory better than if he’d just handed you the toy.

      We’ve had our own ups and downs with giving away things. It’s a balancing act, this life, this raising of children, this teaching what’s important in life. We have the chance to give up a Saturday to go help out at a local orphanage, but I want the kids to want to go. It’s not an easy transition.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 5:48 am

    80. AM says:

      Smile!! And be proud of the lesson you taught your child. Whether the means justify the end is up to you, but from your story one thing is certain, you planted a seed “A CHARITABLE Spirit” into your son that will grow with him. While he may not have been able to immediately conceptualize what you were saying as you said it, in his little mind he in his own little way he got it! The sadness he felt shows that he is not desensitized…In a world that teaches instant self gratification without consequence you taught the LOVE of God! As a result, in the future your child may decide for himself that he wants to give the toy. Maybe in this situation going forward, the choice should be his. Some days he might keep it and you may be disappointed but imagine how proud you will feel on the days he says “No mommy, I don’t want it…give it Dr. B” You have instilled a great quality in your child at an early age. That is something to be proud of!!

      * * *
      “Maybe in this situation going forward, the choice should be his.”

      I’m baffled Marie. The choice was his, it was always his. I felt I made that abundantly clear. He made a choice and then regretted it, hence the remorse.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 11:36 am

    81. Jennifer says:

      As a follow up to my comment yesterday (b/c it’s so hard to know a person’s tone when you’re just reading something they wrote), I wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t disagreeing with how you handled the situation.

      I just meant that I bet now that he’s aware of the ministry (and of how he felt when he made a decision he regretted), he will be eager to save his happy meal toys for others. Maybe it will inspire in him a desire to give to others that he would not have had if he hadn’t had this experience.

      BTW – I love your kid. He seems so tender-hearted and I imagine he’s going to turn out very nicely. 🙂

      April 3rd, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    82. Worshipfan says:

      Wow…that’s a tough one. I think letting him make that decision – whether good or bad was a great choice. Sometimes, having our hearts broken a bit by the weight of our bad decisions helps mold us into the image of Jesus just a little bit more.

      I think the precious response of his heart is HOPE that he will take on that burden for justice in some way.

      Well done.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    83. Are we there yet? says:

      […] The Toy I can’t even express how much I agree with this, & how much it touched me […]

      April 21st, 2009 at 4:17 pm

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