My Son Joel is a little philanthropist.

He’s seven, just barely, and he loves to give. It’s pretty common for him to have friends over and give them something before they leave. His little buddies will be at the door, getting their shoes on, and they’ll be clutching some little car or figure or hockey card we recognize.

“Oh, honey, that’s Joel’s,” we’ll say as sweetly as we can manage.
“Joel said I can have it,” they’ll reply. Blink, blink, staring up at us with innocent eyes.
=”I gave it to him,” Joel says proudly, with no small sense of satisfaction. Well, okay… but we often bite our lips.
“You know that if you give it to him, you can’t have it back,” we remind him.
“Uh huh. I gave it to him.”

Wow. And he’s a saver. He doesn’t need to spend money like our older two. So they often run out of birthday money and find themselves wishing for more. Joel has OFTEN come to them with a five dollar bill in hand, saying, “Here you go.” Funny thing, he never runs out. He’s always got more than them, no matter how much he gives.

He’s got a hockey book, a binder full of hockey cards collected over the past few years. It’s maybe 25 pages long, and it’s his most precious possession. About six months ago we dragged our kids to a party we’d been invited to (for the one-year old belonging to one of Shauna’s managers at work). Well, Joel found a little buddy there and before we were done Joel had given him an entire PAGE of his hockey binder! “Joel, those are your hockey cards,” I remind him, as if he doesn’t know.

“I can get more,” he says cheerfully. And he means it. He genuinely finds pleasure in giving. Again, wow.

It brought tears to my eyes. Because I think we’re fairly generous people, and I’m sure that’s rubbed off, but Joel takes this thing to a whole new level. Sacrificial giving. Giving some of his most precious stuff. And, if I may be so transparent, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t learned that from us. I think it’s innate to his soul, or maybe taught by God himself. My confession? I find myself swallowing hard when he gives like that. Thinking, “Don’t do it buddy. That’s yours. YOURS.” But I don’t want to be the one who holds him back. That would be sad. Why on earth would I try to curb his generosity? He makes me so incredibly proud. And ashamed, that my seven year old has to lead me. Well, so be it. May I be led.