Celebrating My Birthday By Celebrating Others

“Today is the day you celebrate all the others who want to make a difference in your life!”

— Mark Scholz, posted on my Facebook wall today

Today is my birthday.

I was happy to get a call from my mother, presents from my wife, greetings from my son, and special “Dad Cards” from my daughters. Yet, what made me the most happy was a gift that I was able to help give this week.

For the first time, my kids are going to the summer Northwest Band Camp. It’s a camp on the Oregon coast which lets the kids explore music in a fun and relaxed way. Plus, it’s really fun!

One of my son’s friends, a fellow middle schooler, is a great musician. When he was over at our house the other evening, I asked him if he was going to the camp. Sadly, he said no. It would cost too much, he told me.

I thought about that the next morning as I drove to work. This is a kid who’s got a natural love of music. This is also a kid whose had a rough time this year. I can’t say exactly what for privacy reasons, yet I can say that he had to move out of our school district, change schools, relocate, and start over. It’s been tough on him.

It occurred to me that there might be scholarships available for which he might qualify. Probably not. I almost let it drop. Nonetheless, I inquired to the camp director about such a possibility via email without much hope.

The camp director responded promptly and courteously, but with discouraging news. No scholarships are given through the camp. He suggested I try the band director of this young man’s new school. Probably not. I almost let it drop again. Still, I sent another email.

It wasn’t too long after I sent off the other inquiry that the band director responded. He knew how dedicated this young man is to music and was happy to help. Yes! Although it was only a partial scholarship, it was a start. I’d have to match the rest.

Even a partial scholarship was more than my family could afford so I talked to a different band director, from the young man’s prior school, again via email. Same response. Yes again! It was close but there was just enough to put the rest of the scholarship together.

With a few more emails, it was done. My son’s friend was registered and band camp in June was paid. Done. Wow.

I feel as good about this as perhaps any other story since my giving time project began. There are so many times when an idea crosses my mind. Something like, “Oh, if only I would do this, this person would really benefit …” Too often though I don’t act on the idea because I talk myself out of it. “That won’t work because …,” or, “They wouldn’t want me to get involved because ..,” or, “No one else is doing that …”

However, this time I followed through and it worked out.

My son’s friend has given my son many years of friendship. As a father, I appreciate knowing that my son has someone to whom he can talk, laugh, and share his love of music. My small gift to my son’s friend is a celebration of my birthday. A way to say thanks to him for making a difference in my son’s life…

… and mine.

Today’s gift of time … Made a connection so a young man could go to band camp. 

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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4 Responses to Celebrating My Birthday By Celebrating Others

  1. Natalie says:

    Eric, Happy Birthday and congratulations to your mom for birthing and raising an incredible giving person!

  2. Eric,

    Happy Belated Birthday. Wow! What an amazing birthday gift. Thank you for sharing it, especially since you could have easily let it drop *twice* and didn’t. It is often better to give than to receive, I know you know that but loved this tangible reminder. See you soon my friend!

    • Eric Winger says:

      Thanks, Linda! It would have been so easy to drop, but I’m so very glad I didn’t…. The next time I have a choice to try to do something meaningful or let it drop, I hope that this little success inspires me to push forward.

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