Children mostly learn by watching the actions of adults, but, sometimes, we can learn by watching them.
Two 8-year-old boys — one from the area and another from Georgia — made the kind of impression that makes their parents beam with pride last week.
No, they didn’t have the solo in the school play or even bring home a perfect record card.
But these 8-year-old boys made an impression that defies their age just the same.
When Noah Volk was planning his birthday party, he knew what the perfect gift would be.
A Kindle Fire?
The latest and greatest video game?
Well, uh, no.
Young Noah Volk asked his friends to donate to CASA’s 12 Days of Christmas fundraising project instead of buying him a birthday present.
Noah had heard his parents, David E. Volk and Dr. Lauze R. Volk, talking about CASA and its fundraising efforts. He was impressed enough that he decided it was better to give than receive. He still had a birthday party, but the gifts were wrapped with love and sent to CASA.
His mom and dad further led by example when they decided to match whatever Noah’s friends gave him.
What it meant was another $300 in CASA’s hands to support local children who are much less fortunate than Noah.
The example his parents showed him rubbed off in a big way.
There aren’t too many 8-year-old boys willing to sacrifice birthday gifts for any cause.
Have you given to CASA’s project? You have three days to “get on the list” by going to casaofnortheastky.org.
The goal was to raise $12,000 in 12 days through the help of corporate sponsors, who donated $500 a day. The community was asked to make up the other $500 a day.
Noah Volk’s family and friends nearly did it one day by themselves.
Braxton Kuykendall is also 8 and he’s battling stage four lymphoma cancer.
His courage in fighting back has made a believer out of anyone in touches, including a group from the Kentucky Antler Co. in Boyd County who made Braxton’s dream come true.
He wanted to take down a whitetail deer and that’s exactly what he did on a hunt just for him.
Kevin Reece, who owns Kentucky Antler, said he will never forget the hunt with young Braxton. His demeanor in the field and after the chase was finished left Reece and others in his group proud to have crossed his path.
“He was very mature with a lot of personality,” Reece said. “For his age, he was very mature and had a lot of personality. The kid was just a wonderful inspiration to us.”
Braxton came to the Kentucky Antler shoot with a group called Extreme Christian Outdoors from Georgia.
“He’d always wanted to shoot a white tail,” Reece said. “I glad we could help make it happen for him. After it was over he thanked us over and over. I told him it was a privilege to be here with him. It was good for all of us.”
Read more about Braxton’s story, including a photo of him with the white tail deer he took down, in a later edition of The Independent this week.
But the stories of Noah Volk and Braxton Kykendall should serve as reminders to us about what the Christmas season is all about.
They may be 8-year-olds, but they have insight and courage far beyond that of many adults.
This time, they’re the examples to follow.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.