Five Dollars and A Dad

Jody and I recently went to watch Riley and Easton show their heifers and steers at the Angelina County show. Every year, we always enjoy going to be with them and watching them.

At the fairgrounds there are a few extra venues. This year there was an arcade-like feature. A person could pay five dollars for three darts to shoot down bottles. The person selling the tickets said the child was guaranteed to win whether the bottle fell over or not. As long as the child hit the bottle, he could get a prize equal to the amount of money paid to play.

Well, while Easton was in the ring showing his steer there was a dad standing nearby. He had a little boy who ran up to show him what he had won at the arcade. The little boy won a tennis ball that attached to his wrist with a Velcro wrist band. Attached to the ball was a rubber thread, so that he could throw the ball and it would come back to him. With great excitement the little boy ran to his dad and said, “Dad look what I won!” With great scorn and ridicule, the dad said, “You wasted five dollars on that? You should know better. You could have made that at home for 40 cents.” The dad wasn’t finished, several times after that the dad said, “You should have used better sense than to waste five dollars on that.” The little boy was so crushed. The dad just wouldn’t leave it alone.

I thought to myself, “Your little boy was so proud to show you what he had won and all you did was belittle and crush him.” I wondered, ‘Did the dad ever go to Starbucks and waste a lot of money paying for souped-up coffee? Did he ever go to Bass Pro and pay an inordinate amount for a rubber worm to catch a fish? Did he ever pay too much for shells for his gun to go hunting?’ I was heartbroken to hear this dad treat his little boy that way.

How many times do we rain on a person’s parade? How many times does someone come to share something with us, with great excitement, only to have us belittle what they are proud of? There will come a time to give the little boy a Dave Ramsey course in financial peace, but would it have been so bad to share in his excitement in that moment?

Why can’t we rejoice when another succeeds without telling how we have succeeded, too? Why can’t we simply allow another person to share with us their story of accomplishment? We have to either top them with our own story or diminish them.

The next time your child, or grandchild, comes to you beaming with joy, praise them. Tell them how proud you are of them. Join them in their excitement. The next time someone comes to you and is so overjoyed with something, engage them in their joy and share it with them.

We have enough negative people in the world; let’s be the positive.

Rickie Jenkins