This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Chance last week. I was working at his school that afternoon, so he came into the office after school to meet me.
Chance - (Wants something from the little M&M vending machine) Mom, do you have 25 cents? I'm hungry. I didn't get my afternoon snack.
Me - (knowing I packed his afternoon snack) What happened to your snack?
Chance - Ethan had something, so I gave it to him.
Me - Like you were going to trade him?
Chance - No, it was just too late in afternoon recess to get something else.
Me - Okay, I don't get it - what did Ethan have?
Chance - I can't really remember.
Me - Chance, it was less than 2 hours ago - I'm having a hard time with that. Tell me the situation again.
Chance - Ethan was just sitting there, and he had something, so I gave him my snack.
Me - He had something you wanted??
Chance - I don't think so.
Me - Then what does this something have to do with a snack? What did he have - did he have a different snack that he didn't want?
Chance - No, he didn't have a snack.
Me - Then what did he have?
Chance - I don't remember!
Me - Okay, let's try a different angle. Where was Ethan sitting? Was he in trouble on the bench?
Chance - No - he was sitting on the grass.
Me - (as you can imagine, getting a bit tired of this) Okay, Chance, you're a smart kid. I don't believe that you can't remember what happened about 1 hour ago. I'm not giving you money for M&M's unless you tell me the whole story.
Chance - (obviously frustrated as well) Ethan had something, and I gave him my snack - that's all. And it was too late to get another snack, so I'm hungry!
Me - (now thinking the worst, because I don't think I'm getting straight answers) - Chance, did Ethan make you give him your snack?
Chance - No - I wanted to!
Me - But you got nothing in return?
Chance - No - he just had something, and he needed it, so I gave it to him.
Me - Okay, one more time (thank goodness, you're thinking. Believe me, I was too!) What did Ethan have - a toy, another snack, something you thought you wanted to trade for???
Chance - No, mom. He was sitting on the ground not feeling good. He said he had low blood something or other.
Me - (The light bulb is finally turning on) - Did Ethan say he had low blood sugar, buddy?
Chance - Yeah! That's what it was called. He said it would help if he had something to eat, but that he didn't have an afternoon snack - so I gave him mine.
Me - (frantically digging for 100 quarters if I could find them) Oh, pal, that was so nice of you! I'm sorry I didn't understand earlier. You did exactly the right thing - that's being a great friend. Yes, will give you 1000 quarters, and you can have all the M & M's you want.
Some days, they just seem to get it. I watch Chance with his friends, and with his brother, and a lot of times, it's wrestling and fighting and arguing and competing about everything. But, every once in awhile, usually when no one is looking, he displays the most loving, caring attitude, without a care for himself and total focus on the other person. It's those moments when I know, deep down, he gets it.
It's in many of those moments when he teaches me more than I teach him.
And the more of them I witness, the easier it is to withstand the fighting and arguing - knowing that underneath it is a heart of gold, just waiting for the opportunity to shine!