Recently my son John Paul had to give a presentation to his 10th grade English class about something that was meaningful or sentimental to him. After much deliberation and many suggestions from family members he asked me for photos of my mission work as well as a photo of me receiving an award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I asked him what he was planning to say and he told me he wanted to say that I was his hero.
I was honored and quite surprised as I never saw him express much interest in my work. When I returned from my recent mission to Haiti I saw a large wrinkled up manila envelope sitting on the kitchen counter. I was busy unpacking and noticed the envelope still sitting there untouched. Finally, I asked what it was and he said it was just something for me from his teacher. Opening it I found it was full of money, mostly coins and wrinkled up bills. It added up to $106 and change. There was also a note from his teacher saying “you are raising a fine young man.” I was so moved by the generosity of his classmates and the actions of my son. I wondered what he had said to inspire his class. He is a young man of few words and he said “I just told them what you did”.
Of all the accolades and awards that I have received, this is the most moving one. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your children grow into fine young adults and learning from your example. Your children are observing everything you do good or bad so this is a valuable lesson in mindfulness.