True Sacrifice

One son came to me a month or so ago, asking me to intervene.  He had asked his brother how he could bless him and "fill his love tank," a practice we encourage in our family.  His brother had answered, "Give me all your wii time."  Electronics are closely monitored in our house, so each child has forty-five minutes a day.  His brother was asking for a sacrifice, indeed.

He wanted me to talk to his brother, tell him he needed to ask for something else.  I asked him what he wished his brother had said would be a blessing.

"I don't know.  A hug or something."  And then, after a pause.  "I really just wanted him to ask me the question back."

I chuckled pretty good over that one.  "Honey, I can't do that.  If you don't want to give your brother your wii time, you don't have to.  But, the whole point of this exercise in love is that you're choosing to do for the other person what would bless them, with no strings attached."

I smiled a few minutes later when he gave his brother all his wii time.

And then, weeks later, it was his brother's turn to come to me.  He wanted my advice on what to get the giver of the wii time for his birthday.  When he listed all the things he was thinking of purchasing, I gently pointed out that every single one of them were things that he himself was wanting, and nothing that had been on his brother's wish list.

"Do you think you might not be shopping for your brother here, after all, but really shopping for yourself instead?"  My question hung in the air between us.

Within a couple of hours, he had asked me to take him to the sporting good store.  He, the boy who has no interest in playing football, walked out with a pair of expensive football gloves to be wrapped up in birthday paper.  It wasn't hard at all to give him a hug and tell him how proud I was of his gift-giving, both of us knowing the sacrifice involved with the hard-earned money left inside on the counter.

Two brothers who genuinely love each other, but still have to learn what it means to put another's needs above their own.  And not just once, but over and over again.  

What an important lesson to learn.  For without it, how will a marriage one day work?  How will parenting work? 

Because to love very often means to sacrifice. 

But, as I watch the growing respect and friendship between these two brothers, I'm reminded of how much sacrificial love is worth.