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Matt Beem
President and COO
Kinetic Fundraising, Inc.

Little kids can teach us much

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Independence, MO – Christ United Methodist Church held its annual talent show last Sunday. It was the first time the Beem family had attended Methodists Got Talent, but it won’t be the last.

The lunchtime potluck event offered alternative glimpses of people we’ve known for years. Some were funny, others were serious and a few were downright surprising.

Tom and Maggie were among those who shared their gifts. Tom played two piano tunes, one of which recently earned a “1” at contest and another of which he’s developing for his next recital. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bursting with pride for my 7-year-old – because I was.

Maggie preceded Tom by several acts. She, too, wowed the audience – including her mom and dad – with an original piano and lyrics piece. After introducing her composition, her crystal clear voice and rock-solid keyboards drew a frog to her dad’s throat and, I suspect, moistened several eyes in the room.

Joe and I returned to church for Scouts Monday night. Troop 228 was hosting its annual Scoutbucks auction. With Scoutbucks they’ve earned for attending meetings in full uniform, boys can buy cool outdoor gear – flashlights, camp boxes, ponchos – at the annual event the month before summer camp.

Joe has strategically planned for previous years’ auctions as a key opportunity to grow his personal gear collection. But he told me on the way to Monday’s meeting he planned to give his 1,000-plus Scoutbucks to Sam, a cousin who just crossed over into the troop from Webelos and hadn’t had an opportunity earn his own loot.

To his chagrin, Joe learned after arriving at the meeting that Scoutbucks are non-transferable. But cousins have a way of working deals: I was sure I saw him hand Sam a Coleman camping pillow as they left the auction and crossed the parking lot.

“Yeah, I got it for Sam,” Joe confirmed later that night during a before-bed conversation (previously known as tucking in). “I didn’t need anything, and it’s what he wanted.”

Philanthropy is contagious. And we never know who will infect us.

But our kids?

You bet.

I could opine on how Tom’s solo reminded me that it’s important to share our talents with others instead of keeping them to ourselves. Or how Maggie’s solo exemplified the adage that to whom much is given much is required. Or how Joe’s act of generosity underscored the importance of treating other people how we like to be treated.

But I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply say thanks.

Thanks for reminding me that it’s important to share my gifts. I often worry that what I have to offer isn’t sufficiently polished or practiced, but Sunday’s show reminded me that all gifts are important.

Don’t get me wrong; my kids are still kids. They fight, talk back and get in age-appropriate amounts of trouble.

But once in awhile, a glimpse of the future Kate and I are pushing for shines through. Let’s hope the memories of those good moments stick.

I’m already thinking about what I’ll do for next year’s talent show.

I’m really good at eating pizza. I wonder if I could offer a talent entitled “Matt Eating Pizza” and continuously eat slices of my favorite Italian pie.

Now that’s a gift I can get excited about giving.

> Matt Beem Bio