Big Hearts in Little Packages

By the November of my granddaughter Jocelyn’s kindergarten year, she had a boyfriend.

“No one in school likes him,” she explained to her mother, “so I decided to make him my boyfriend.” Jocelyn smiled and skipped away, never giving it another thought.

By the time Jocelyn was in first grade, she had formed a club for all the kids no one would play with. For those children standing around at recess waiting for an invite, Jocelyn was it.

She created a wonderful circle of friends, with only one problem. When her four-year-old brother Jesse wanted in, she realized that according to her original charter, she had no choice. But she welcomed him graciously, and they put their heads and their hearts together.

By the time Jocelyn was ten years old, she was nominated to be a member of a peer committee to help other students with any conflicts. Today, her career as a diplomat continues to shine.

Less than a hundred miles away, another grandchild was showing his heart as well. At age six, Chase picked the winning team for that year’s Super Bowl. His dad gave him a hundred dollars of the prize money and asked him what he’d like to do with it.

Chase knew. He had his eye of a new video game, but the rest he wanted to donate to cancer research in hopes that they might find a cure for his grandpa. His parents helped him address the envelope, and they walked to the corner so Chase could drop his wish into the mailbox.

Two years later Chase was nominated by a friend for “Champ of the Week,” a special feature in one of the newspapers in Leominster, Massachusetts. The article included a picture of Chase wearing an American Flag tee shirt, with a list of questions posed by the reporter and answers by Chase. The fourth answer caused a lump to form in my throat.

“What’s the matter?” my husband asked, sitting down next to me.

“Read halfway down the first column,” I managed to whisper.

Halfway down the first column, the reporter had asked Chase what he would do if he had a million dollars.

“I’d buy food for kids who don’t have food,” he replied.

His reply transported me back to my hippy days, when all the love we had for each other was going to change the world. I admit we were young and idealistic, but we knew we were right. 

With one heartfelt answer, my grandson gave me back the dreams of my youth. Like Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, I had my Paris back.

Maybe his generation will be the one to change the world. Maybe they will bring about the global peace that no generation has yet to do. Maybe they will be the “can do” generation, where everyone is fed and everyone is invited to join the club.

My husband finished reading Chase’s interview and smiled, his eyes welling with tears. “Wonderful grandchildren we have, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” I agreed, leaning in for a hug, “and now all you need to do is live a few more years, if only so Chase will know that his $50 donation worked.”

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