Sunday, October 9, 2011
"I don't know, ...he's old, but he looks like he's getting along ok," I replied.
"His stuff's gonna fall out of that bag I think," Andrew returned, "...we should see if we can help him." Having already lost my morning to the "all time consuming" involvement in Andrew's football team, I grumbled silently, not sure what more I was willing to give at the moment, but my little boy's eyes held steady, piercing mine and reaching all the way into my reluctant heart. Before I realized what I was doing, I was turning the car from traffic and into an abandoned convenience store parking lot.
"What are we gonna do Dad?" Andrew's eyes beamed, "...are we gonna help him?"
"Call to him and ask if he needs some help."
"Hey Man!" he called from where he hung out the window, "...can we help you?" I was surprised by Andrew's uncharacteristic candor, he's normally overly reserved when it comes to strangers, but he seemed free of reservation as he addressed the old man and waited his response. Finding a bill in my wallet, I tapped Andrew's hip, which apart from his legs and feet was the only part of him still inside the car. Glancing back he took the money and immediately held it out toward the approaching man.
"You're very kind young man," the stranger said, taking his offering and leaning to peer into the window at me. "Thank you sir," his eyes glistened complimenting a pleasant smile, "...you have a fine boy." He patted Andrew's head and turned away. For a long moment, I stayed, watching him go and contemplating what had just happened. The sound of Andrew's questioning voice brought me back to reality, as while tapping me on the shoulder he asked anxiously...,
"Is that doing our duty Dad?" That's when it all made sense to me. You see, recently I was asked to lead a den of beginning Cub Scouts, and in our first meeting during the week, Andrew had learned the Cub Scout Promise. "I promise to do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country. To help other people and to obey the law of the pack."
Less than an hour earlier, when responding to an irritated coach in defense of his not making a false start call when several players on the line shifted prematurely, a game official yelled back...,
"Come on coach? They're only eight years old, ...what do you expect?"