Thursday, September 9, 2010
What’s the best birthday gift for a precious four-year-old in Nigeria who loves his mommy and daddy, Barney, school, and puppies? Lifesaving heart surgery, of course! But try explaining that to little Chris who lives only for the moment and just wants cake and a Coke today.
Because his family doesn’t have the money for those luxuries, I suggested that they use what every four-year-old has in abundance—imagination. Perhaps mommy Rahila can find something to put on little Chris’s head to wear as a crown and let him be king for today. “Wow, look at you,” she can say. “You are a powerful boy who rules all of Nigeria. Your birthday is so special that it is a national holiday. Today Mommy and Daddy will stay home and play with you all day, and we will have cake and Cokes.” Then she can hand him an imaginary plate and glass bottle and they can pretend to eat and drink. The food might not be real, but the celebration will be. And there’s no need to tell him that the national holiday is really for Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
As for the rest of us, the best gifts we can give little Chris are prayers for safe travel, successful heart surgery this month, and many more birthdays.