Posted by: Calvin | December 23, 2007

The Christmas Pageant

Our neighbor, GM, does many nice things for us all year long.  She is not a relative, but indeed part of our family.  She is a rare gift.  The special adult in my boys’ lives because she wants to be, not because she has to be.  She has been there for them since the day they were each born.  She does not have any children of her own, so my boys have found a special place in her heart. 

This year by asking is to do a favor for her, GM has inadvertently given Fisherman and I and opportunity to teach them new lessons about the meaning of Christmas and charitable living in general.  GM goes to church regularly and is active in her congregation.  Our family, on the other hand is not very religious.  The boys went to pre-school at a local church, so they have had exposed to organized religion, but as a family we have not participated nor do we belong to a church.  A few weeks ago, GM told me that her church was having a Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve and that they were having difficulty finding children to participate.  She asked if Baseball Boy and Mojo would be in the pageant.  Mojo was game from the onset.  He is game for anything.  Baseball Boy was reluctant.  He is reluctant about most things he has not had a chance to witness first hand and assimilate into his comfort zone.  He really did not want to do it.  He admitted he was scared to do it.  He told us so as our family ate lunch at Burger King on Thursday afternoon.  In this unlikely place, we talked about how much GM does for us without asking for anything in return.  So rarely does she ask for a favor that is meaningful to her.  We have been given an opportunity to do something nice for her.  Baseball Boy understood this and agreed to participate, but he was still apprehensive.  I asked both boys to pay attention to GM on Christmas Eve to see how happy they made her and how proud she would be when she introduced them to her friends.

We were scheduled to attend one of two rehearsals.  One last Thursday evening and the other Saturday (yesterday) morning.  We arrived at the church at our appointed time on Thursday.  Right away we were greeted by another boy from our school and his mother.  It helped . . . a bit . . . to add a familiar face to the unfamiliar surroundings.  The rehearsal lasted about an hour and a half.  To my surprise, I found that I too would be in the pageant which was just fine with me.  I knew that I would be by the boys’ side the whole time to shoulder Baseball Boys fears and keep Mojo in line.  We were assigned the smallest of roles.  All in all, the most difficult part of the pageant will be standing while all (yes all) verses of many Christmas hymns are sung.  By the end of the night we were all comfortable with the expectations for us.  The woman running the pageant, however, we clearly very nervous and unsure as to whether the group as a whole would be able to pull it all off.  As the outsider observing from within, her fears are warranted.   As GM proudly pointed out, my boys were easily the best behaved and focused on the task at hand.  I had to agree!

Saturday morning arrived and I told the boys we needed to go to the rehearsal for the pageant again.  Baseball Boy said, “Our parts are really pretty easy, Mom.  All we have to do is put on our Shepard costume, walk slowly to our seats.  Sit for a while.  Get up and walk slow again, then stand in the front, then walk slowly back to our seats, then sit, then get up and walk slowly out of the church at the end.”  With Mojo listening in agreement, I said, “Yes, you are right.  But did you notice that the nice lady who is running the pageant seemed very nervous the other day?”  He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Don’t you think that having as many of the cast members there as possible today would make her feel better?”  He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Then how about if we go just to make her feel better?”  He said, “Okay.”  We went.  The boys did not complain.  They did exactly what she told them to do on Thursday without the need for direction.   Again, I was very proud of them.

I am looking forward to the Christmas pageant, but mostly I look forward to seeing what impact the pageant has on the boys in the short term and in the long run.  If nothing else, I am hoping that the boys will have learned that doing something for someone else is a gift in an of itself.  And, it is at times the easiest gift to give with the biggest returns.

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