Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – As Ethan Bruce’s 7th birthday neared recently, a celebration was planned by his parents. When you’re about to turn 7, it’s a huge day in your life. There’s usually friends, cake and ice cream, balloons, games, and lots of other fun, fantastic things for a child to enjoy. Yep, a 7th birthday is really a big deal!
As Ethan’s birthday got closer, plans were made for all the fun. Ethan’s mom Emily knew that this would be an important day. While preparing for the big day, she considered her little man and his life to date. “We are truly blessed, more than blessed,” she thought as she made all the preparations.
As Emily considered her blessings, she thought perhaps she should point those out to Ethan as well. He had lots of toys, a safe and happy home to live in with his family, food to eat, and clothes to wear, did he really need more gifts that included new things to play with? Thinking about this, Emily devised a plan she’d present to Ethan. She made a list of organizations and projects in our community that make a difference to some who aren’t as blessed. Many of these struggle financially and do great things with what little resources they can muster. Perhaps, Ethan would forgo the new toys she expected the party’s guests would bring and instead, help one of these organizations this year.
Emily made her list and showed it to Ethan. She explained the idea and suggested that Ethan decide. Instead of selfishness, she immediately got selflessness. Ethan looked the list over his mom had made and helping a local animal shelter caught his eye. The Bruces have a dog and Ethan really liked animals. This would be the perfect fit. Instead of presents for his birthday, Ethan would ask his friends who were attending to bring dog food instead. Then, he and his parents would donate it all to the Lexington County Animal Shelter on Ballpark Road.
When the big day came, Emily didn’t really know what to expect. Would some bring toys anyway? Would anyone bring dog food to a 7-year-olds birthday party? To Ethan and Emily’s delight, when the guests arrived, they all had dog food in hand for Ethan to donate. By the end of the day, there was quite a pile! The only toys Ethan received were ones for the dogs to play with.
After the party, Ethan and his family loaded up their pickup truck and drove to the shelter. There, they blessed the staff and dogs with foods of all types. To Ethan it was a fun thing to round out his birthday. To Emily, it was a great lesson for her son. “It was great to see Ethan jump so quickly into this. We’re truly blessed with worldly possessions and with Ethan. It did him good to understand that we need to share our blessing with others,” Emily said in a telephone interview. “We are so proud of Ethan and thankful that his friends were willing to help. On his 7th birthday, Ethan received more than a celebration, he received a life lesson. We are so proud of him for what he was willing to do.”