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This post is written by my 10-year-old daughter Clara Belle. She keeps a journal and when I read her entry from our trip to New York City earlier this week, I asked her permission to share it with my readers.

The backdrop to this journal entry is that my wife and I have a tradition of going to New York every December to see the lights, shop, and take in a show. This year we took our girls. Clara brought her little coin pouch, which was stuffed with the money she earned this year -- $19 and a bunch of coins. Instead of buying gifts, she wanted to give her money away to homeless people in New York. At one point, she encountered an elderly black man on Madison Avenue. He was sitting in a wheelchair with a cup in his hand. His left leg was missing.
His cardboard sign indicated that he was a U.S. veteran. When she opened her change pouch and gave him some of her savings, the man lit up, smiled, and said, “God bless you! God bless your whole family. Merry Christmas.”

Later, on Avenue of the Americas, Clara approached a man wearing an eye patch and holding a cup. Clara told me that from her perspective, the man looked “bewildered, like he had been through a war.” She gave him $2 and said: “Merry Christmas.” He nodded.

Finally, we passed a man sleeping on the sidewalk near Grand Central Station. Surrounded by bags containing his possessions, he was bundled up in layers of sweatshirts. People passed and looked down at him: two fat guys eating slices of pepperoni pizza folded like a sandwich; a woman in fur and heels; some teenagers holding iPhones; a businessman in a wool coat, sipping coffee; children eating candy. When Clara approached and dropped money in his cup, everyone’s eyes shifted to her. Then her sister Maggie put the rest of her spending money in the cup. The man never opened his eyes.
Later, I had this exchange with Clara:

J: Why did you want to give your money to homeless people?

C: Most of the time when I walk past them in the streets I don’t have any money to give to them. And I always want to give money to them. I feel bad for them. They probably didn’t mean to be on the streets. It’s not their fault. And I see a lot of people walk past them and look down on them like they are a bunch of garbage. Others look down like they feel sorry, but they don’t stop to give them anything.

J: How does that make you feel?

C: Sad.

Here is Clara’s journal entry from our trip to New York.

4:03 pm
Dear Journal,

I don’t know if my spelling is correct, so I’m using an erasable pen I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond earlier this year. Mom, Dad, Maggie and I are in New York. Clancy is visiting Tennyson in UT.

Maggie and Mom just parted with Dad and I to go see Jersey Boys. Dad and I are in the hotel and are leaving soon to go see the Christmas Spectacular. There was traffic on the road so we decided to take the train to NYC/Grand Central. There are only 4 days til Christmas! And there are lots of presents under the tree; 7 from me that I’ve already put under the tree.

11:07 pm

It was awesome! There was tap-dancing and dancing and singing and ice skating on the stage! There was an angel right in the air and real sheep, a donkey, and 3 camels (maybe Alexander Camelton). And there were tons and tons of Santa Clauses! And there were Christmas angle decorations and little trees covered in white Christmas lights and lots of Christmas trees everywhere: in the stores, the streets, work buildings, and every where else. There are Christmas decorations all over town and its BEAUTIFUL!

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Maggie and mom also loved their show too! Before we went to the Christmas Spectacular, Dad and I went to the New York building (Saks Fifth Avenue) that does the light show and watched the light show.

Then we went to Rockefeller Center and looked at the huge Christmas tree and the ice skaters.