When that young Guyton, Ga., boy made his sacrifice and gave his saved bike money to charity to help New York, it was a noble and worthy act. (Sept. 28 Chronicle)
When the newspaper made a big deal of it and the bike store gave him a bike for free, a lesson was learned by him, other children, and we adults. That lesson was that if you give to charity, make it known. This will make you look good and, perhaps, get you a greater reward than what you gave to the charity.
The lesson this boy could have received from his act of charity was that it feels good to sacrifice what to him would have been a luxury for the good of people more needy than he. If this lesson had time to sink in, he might sell the bike the store gave him and send the money to the same charity and feel even better about what he was able to do for the people of New York. That act would take a level of maturity and caring that most of us adults cannot claim.
When we adults take away the right of a child to make a sacrifice for charity by stepping in and negating that act, we are not doing him or ourselves a favor. We are getting the short term "feel good" and forgetting the long term benefit of the act of giving.
Rick Hawkins, Martinez, Ga.