Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Act of Giving

Don’t we all just love Christmas? Filipinos that we are, no matter what, no matter how meager our finances might be, whatever our present circumstances, we would always find a way to celebrate Christmas. To us, it’s the season of giving and sharing, our version of Thanksgiving Day.

As a continuation of my last post, last Saturday was a day I would want to imprint in my mind. On that day, I picked up a valuable lesson from my very own son about how it is to truly give.

We went to the newly opened Uni Qlo shop that occupies a vast three-floor space at the end of Building B of SM Megamall. While I was busy checking out discounted items, Garrett asked permission to go around by himself, to “explore,” he said. I allowed him to roam around, well, with some hesitation since I don’t really feel it’s safe for children to go around in a mall, as big and crowded as Megamall is, without a companion. After some time, he came back to me with a striped XL shirt and a pair of socks, saying he wanted to buy them for his dad. I discouraged him, explaining that I have learned my lesson not to buy his dad clothing items. He was insistent though. He said he just wanted to have something to give as a Christmas gift to his dad, and showed me that the socks were on sale, and that the total price was P400. I said, “No.” “Alright, alright,” Garrett conceded, and asked if he could further explore the store.

After around 20 minutes or so, he came back to me again, this time with a Mickey Mouse shirt, worth P400, which he wanted to buy for Gabee. I then asked him how he would be able to buy it when he had no money. I would later find out that Garrett thought he still had P400+ left with me, the balance of a cash gift he got from an aunt of mine who visited us last month. When I handed him a 1,000-peso bill to pay for a book that he bought just before going to Uni Qlo, he thought I was buying the book for him with my money, when in my mind, that was the money he had me keep for him. We misunderstood each other. In his mind, what money he had in my wallet was a few 100-peso bills and some loose change, the very same ones that he handed me before. He didn’t realize that his money got mixed with my own.

Garrett wanted to use up all the money he had left to buy his dad or his sister a Christmas gift. “So, that was why you were frantically going around?” I asked him. He said, “Yes,” in a soft, sad voice, realizing that he actually had no money to buy a gift for his dad or his little sis. Looking at him, disappointed and sad, it dawned on me how selfless he is. I knew there were other stuff (books, pens and notebooks) which he wanted for himself.

I was touched and was embarrassingly in tears as I agreed that I would just pay for the gift he wanted to buy for his sister. I praised his virtuous intention. And then, of course, I suggested that we go around again and look for something, worth P400, which his sister needs and would love to have.

Garrett has taught me a lesson on the act of giving. Give all that you have. Think not of yourself. I was again in tears as I related what happened to his dad and to his sister when we got home.

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