When my mom was a teenager she used to work at the carousel on the Boardwalk. They would play a game where every time the carousel circled around, the rider had a chance to stretch their arm out and try to grab a small ring from this funny little contraption.
If you got the golden ring, you won a free ride on the carousel.
Well, they STILL play this game at the carousel ride and guess what?! Happy Buddy got the gold ring! You would have thought someone handed him a hundred ice cream cones he was so completely ecstatic.
Then on his second free ride, HE GOT THE GOLD RING AGAIN.
While I was so thrilled for Happy Buddy’s victory, my heart started to see an opportunity for kindness. He already got his free ride and it was time for us to leave the park, so now he could bless someone else with a free ticket!
I had visions of him giving it away and us rejoicing over the chance to be Jesus to someone.
As Happy Buddy excitedly exited the ride showing off his second ticket, we did a little dance and celebrated the moment.
Then I jumped right in by dropping a few hints about being kind and giving his ticket away – how it would feel so wonderful to sacrifice in order to make someone else so happy – like JESUS. 😉
Of course he said yes!
Haha – NO. Instead he clutched the ticket to his chest and said he wanted to take it home and frame it.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed! It would have been such an awesome, tangible moment to share God’s love!
And I could have chosen to push my agenda on him, but you know what I realized?
That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
He worked hard for his prize. I mean, I worked hard for my diploma and I’m allowed to hang it on my wall, right?
There will be plenty more opportunities for him to show kindness. Like the other day when I wasn’t feeling well and he came in my room and asked me if there was anything he could do for me.
And then how he told Happy Baby tonight how he loved being his brother.
And then when we were in the car yesterday and he saw a homeless man and was moved to write a note for him that said ‘God bless you! You rock!’
He is a good boy – even if he didn’t give away his carousel ticket.
You might think I’m a little crazy for even writing about this, but the whole situation reminded me of how I sometimes get these inflated expectations of perfection with my kids. I need to keep in mind that kids are kids. He is growing and learning just like I am.
As it turns out, every time he sees his little carousel ticket he gets excited all over again and now our whole family sees that little ticket as a tangible way the Lord showed great kindness to our sweet Happy Buddy.
I think I am going to hang it up next to my diploma. 😉