A Three-Year-Old's "Hospitable" Gift
--by jessi, posted Oct 28, 2008
My little boy, Matthew, had recently lost his beloved grandmother. Matthew was just three years old and since her loss, he would often tug my hand in tears, longing for his grandmother to come back to the world. At his tender age of three, he had an idea. He asked me if we could do something in honor of grandma so the world could remember her. When I welcomed his lovely suggestion, he said we could create something special for the children at the "hospitable", since grandma had always wanted to volunteer there. Although her heart was so ready to give, her physical capacity was limited and she could not drive or make the trek over to the hospital, and therefore had spent the majority of her days doling out her compassion to her family and friends. So, we decided to fulfill Grandma's last life wish.
Matthew and I teamed up and presented our kindness proposal to his pre-school classmates. We energized them with the prospect of going shopping and purchasing small gifts (chocolates, flowers, and cards) which they could then insert into hand crafted holiday baskets which the kids themselves could make. It would be a basket which was wholly made by one child and solely for another. As the young faces happily agreed, we were off on executing our plan!
Matthew and I scouted out the most child-friendly stores and distributed fliers at these locations so the storeowners were aware of our plan and could bring their most cherished items for the preschoolers to purchase. Matthew's preschool peers selectively made their picks, and after we collected all of the items, we placed the chocolates, flowers, and 'get well' cards into seven beautifully crafted wicker baskets for the bedridden children at our local Children's Hospital. When Matthew and two of his other little mates came to the hospital to make their deliveries, they were greeted with a tour of the facilities before they entered into each hospital room to change an ailing child into a smiling one.
Now, five years have passed, and the Matthew "hospitable" tradition has continued on as we continue to make the baskets of sweetness and wellness for the children. These children are not just other people's children, because as this event has become a permanent fixture in our lives, so have these children too. In this spirit of expansion, we have seen this sense of community spread as the gift baskets now include not only items we purchase from stores, but also donated items from Matthew's school and our church. The number of gift baskets have risen from seven to fifty and in addition to distributing the baskets to our local children's hospital, we now distribute them to the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation that assists children afflicted with cancer.
Thank you, Matthew, for inspiring such a lovely gift in memory of your grandma, Esther. We miss her and love her and know that her spirit of kindness lives on in the hearts of these small children.