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I had a bit of a moan on Saturday. I wasn’t looking for help. You guys are amazing, though: help you offered, in the form of advice, moral support and cash.
In fact, several people offered cash. Thank you. Such ordinary words don’t express the depth of my gratitude, so here are some extraordinary words:
You know who you are. I’d like to tell everyone who you are but you offered it privately, so I will respect that.
I am going to share the name of one person, however. I asked her permission and she granted it only because she wanted to tell the story of why she made the offer. It is a story worth reading, and I hope you will extend your generosity by going on over to take a look. Tell her Tilly sent you.
The donor is Kiwidutch. She reads my blog from time to time, but rarely comments. That’s okay: all lurkers are welcome here (I’ll take my stats however I can get them).
On Saturday, she sent me an email, some of which I reproduce here:
Dear Tilly, I read your post about Spud’s school trip and would like to pay the down-payment he needs. Why?…Please see Number 46 on my 101 tasks … it’s about walking the walk and not just talking the talk. [...] … payment for me would be for him to get busy immediately with fundraising plans [...] and for him to remember to “pay it forward” one day whenever he can.
I was taken aback. Here is what amounts to a stranger, offering my child the help he needs. My instinct was to say ‘no’, if I’m honest, because I wasn’t asking for help in my post and it didn’t seem right to accept. Then I realised that it wasn’t up to me: Kiwidutch was offering to help Spud, so he had to decide. He asked for time to sleep on it; he doesn’t rush into things. He likes to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.
He decided not to accept the offer. Once the initial obstacle of no choice was removed by Kiwidutch, he looked at what it would really mean: a great trip, doing some good, learning about himself and the world, against GCSEs in summer, all his spare time spent in preparation and fundraising. As much as he wants the trip, he wants a future more. He has been privileged to receive an excellent education; the only way he can repay that is to do his absolute best in the exams, to show that it was not wasted on him.
Oh, and he doesn’t want to have to stop buying PS3 games (let poor children build their own walls; COD 17 will be out soon).
While I was astounded at Kiwidutch’s offer, what appealed to me was her request that Spud pay it forward. Over the years we have told him that we expect him to donate to his school when he is earning, so that other children like him will be helped. What Kiwidutch really offered Spud was not money, but options: more than money, we want him to pay that forward.
Thank you, Kiwidutch and all of you. Not just for the offers, the advice and the support; but for showing me that the world is a better place than I believed it to be.