Ethan attends a Jewish preschool and every Friday morning, the kids celebrate the Sabbath. They head over to the small sanctuary in the synagogue, sing songs, march around the room with plush stuffed faux-Torahs. It's pretty much the cutest freaking thing I've ever seen. ever. in. my. life.
I knew all of this was happening on a weekly basis and thoroughly enjoyed listening to my little mensch singing Shabbat Shalom songs on the way home from school on Fridays. But I learned something I didn't know about the services last week when a few other moms and I attended so we could see the adorableness in all it's glory. Apparently towards the end of each little Shabbat service, the school director passes around a tzedakah box, which is the little box to put change in to donate to charity.
I had been sending my kid to school for over a month of Fridays without knowing about the existence of the tzedakah box. While other kids were listening to the plinking plunking sound of nickles, dimes and quarters off on their way to make the lives of others better, my kid was...I don't know. Picking his nose (definitely)? Looking at the ceiling (possible)? Contemplating the meaning of life (highly unlikely)? I have no idea. But he wasn't giving any money to charity.
Fabulous. I'm hoping the director, his teachers and all other adults involved realize that Ethan wasn't trying to impersonate Scrooge, nor were his parents. I just didn't know about it! So that day, when the director whipped out the box and all the little kiddos jumped up to deposit their spare change in the tin can's slot, my heart sunk to my toes, my face turned ten different shades of red and I shoved my hand into my purse, digging around for coins, bills, whatever I could fine. SHIT! As I realized what was going on, and that I had no idea how much money I had on me, if any (damn debit card making cash and coins obselete!!!), I panicked that if Ethan didn't give any tzedakah while I was physically present and in the room, I couldn't claim ignorance and I'd just look like a stingy jerk.
I pulled some bills out--I have no idea how much, I didn't even count, folded them up and told Ethan to put them in the can. He of course, had NO idea what to do because, you know, he'd never actually given to charity before because his loser mother had no idea he was supposed to be coming prepared for such a thing. Gah!!! So we created quite a spectacle, the two of us cramming a fold of bills into the tin can.
So anyway, this morning when I dropped him off for school, I made sure to put two quarters in his pants pocket. I told him, "These are for the tzedakah box during Shabbat services, okay?" and kissed him goodbye. I told his teacher that the quarters were there in case Ethan forgot and went on my merry way.
This afternoon I picked Ethan up, we drove home and began playing some rock star game or other (we are always, in some way, pretending to be rock stars). Ethan reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the aforementioned two quarters. And a dime.
"Why didn't the quarters go into the tzedakah box?!" I asked, then, "Where did the dime come from????" Ethan's answer? "The tzedakah box."
Oh dear G-d in heaven above, please don't strike my poor thieving child down. He stole from the tzedakah box. I'm not sure how it's possible since the only opening to it is a little slit in the tin can, but he left the house today with fifty cents and he came home with sixty. We had ourselves as serious a talk as one can have with a three year old about taking money that isn't ours and why it's important to give to people who don't have all the toys and food and comforts in life that we do. And then I went into the other room and giggled until I about peed my pants.
On Monday, I will go into the school, with that whopping sixty cents and explain to his teacher that I'm not sure how exactly that random dime ended up in his pockets (maybe another equally confused kid really just gave it to him while the box was being passed around the room? I don't know, but I am sure it was entirely innocent), but could she please put all of it in the tzedakah box for us.
Maybe next Friday I'll attend the little Shabbat service and make sure that a certain sticky-fingers gets his coins in the tzedakah box.