“A Father’s Charity,” Liahona, Sept. 1998, 10
The following is a true story. For my eighth birthday I wanted to have a party. My parents agreed, and so a week before my birthday, I took the invitations to school.
On the school bus, I kept thinking about Alice.* I was hoping that she wouldn’t be there that day. Then my parents couldn’t blame me for not inviting her. You see, Alice was different from the other girls, and she was very quiet. She always played by herself at recess, and as far as I could see, she had no friends. In other words, I didn’t see why I needed to invite her to my party.
When I got to school, much to my dismay, Alice was there. I handed out the invitations, and everyone was very excited.
The morning of my birthday party, my parents asked, “Will Alice be coming?” I was surprised! I didn’t think they even knew Alice.
“I don’t know if she’s coming,” I answered. My father suggested that we take a ride over to her house to see. My father is a very kind man, but he is also very firm. If he suggests that we do something, we do it.
Alice’s mother answered the door, and my father told her why we were there. “She won’t be coming,” Alice’s mother said. “She doesn’t have a present for your daughter. You see, my husband lost his job and …”
My father gestured that he understood, then said, “We would still like Alice to come. It doesn’t matter if she has a present or not.”
No present? I thought. What kind of a birthday party is that? But, of course, I just stood there and smiled.
When we were in the car again, my father told me that after he took me home he was coming back to take Alice to buy a present for her to give me.
This isn’t turning out so bad after all! I thought.
I can’t remember what presents I got that day, but I do remember that Alice seemed to laugh a lot and was actually quite fun to be with. When it was time to take her home, I got in the front seat and she got in the backseat. I turned around to tell her something, and next to her was the prettiest doll I had ever seen. In my eight-year-old mind, I realized my father had bought that doll for Alice. I felt as though my heart grew two sizes that day.
My father is not a great scientist. He has never invented anything or found a cure for a disease. But that day he did something just as important—he showed charity to a little girl. And to another little girl, he showed what it means to be Christlike.