There are times when Little Dog will say something that makes me say, "Man, I really do have a teenager now." You know, the requisite eye rolls and responses of "Fiiiiine Mommmm"
But then there are other times when he will say something that reminds me I have raised exactly the kind of young man I wanted to raise; the kind that makes me burst with mama pride. Like recently, on the way to school, he said, "Mom, is it okay if I go make sandwiches for the homeless before school Thursday morning?"
This was not something I had particularly pushed, but merely an opportunity he came across. Never mind that, in the back of my mind, I had always wanted to find an opportunity to somehow do something hands on to help the homeless. He has a friend who spends Thursday mornings before school making sandwiches to be distributed to our city's homeless population and he wanted to help too. Yay him!
I have always tried to live a life that exemplifies giving back. He knows nothing different than donating outgrown clothes to charity; picking a cause each holiday season which will help support someone less fortunate; and standing up for what he believes to be right. He has paid for his own membership to Street Cats, a feral cat rescue organisation, since he was 8 years old and began receiving an allowance. He is a champion gift giver who always thinks of the recipient and chooses accordingly. When the annual Autism Foundation fund raiser rolls around he solicits donations and volunteers to work the race - without even being asked. He has never passed a collection jar without pausing to read what it was for and more often than not, to drop some coins in.
Though I am Buddhist and have long believed in Karma, I have never forced Buddhism upon him. His father, however, is a born again Christian who regularly encourages him to adopt the same belief system.
But I have a thinking child, who possesses the intelligence to seek answers and to process what he sees for himself. When he came to me a few years ago and proclaimed (as so many teenagers do at some point) that he was "Not religious" I told him only that it would be a very difficult life he led if he had no spiritual belief system by which to process the events of the world. I think it is important to have a belief system which will comfort you during times of grief or sadness.
I have never prevented him from exploring any religion, although I do have really really strong beliefs about evil and negativity thus there are certain things that are not allowed in my home.
Just a few block from our home is a new-age bookstore owned by a self proclaimed Satanist. It is almost unheard of for me to NOT go to a bookstore, but I have avoided that one my entire life. As such, I have explained my reasons to LD and he agrees. Better to steer clear of such places than to invite a negative energy unawares. He has a recently developed a fascination with Ghosts and (supposedly) haunted places. He also knows how I feel about such things and although he laughs at me for my fears, he respects my views.
It's not just an "evil" energy I avoid. It is a negative energy period. For example TV. I look at shows like Jerry Springer or Cops and all I see is someone's misfortune being presented as entertainment. Reality shows like Survivor or Big Brother revolve around not just competition, but greed. That is simply not what I want to call entertainment.
But back to the sandwiches. On Thursday he made sandwiches and the next day he found $5 on the ground as he walked into school. When I picked him up he was so excited to tell me about the Karma he had experienced. I stopped at the bank to deposit a check and he noticed that they were taking donations for the Heart Association. Without a second thought (or any suggestion from me) he gave them his found money as a donation.
Isn't it easy to see why I am so proud of my son?