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On New Year’s Eve, my nephew Benjamin came over (he’s my cousin’s son; is he my nephew?), and my mom suggested I give him some old toys.  I didn’t mind giving them away since they were just sitting around as decorations, but then I got to my Optimus Primal, and I hesitated.

This guy was from my favorite cartoon Beast Wars.  This Transmetal Optimus Primal or whatever it’s called (let’s call it “Super Monkey”) was not any ordinary toy.  He was the captain of the good guys, and this was his ultimate form, in which he could transform into 4 different modes (Gorilla, Robot, Airplane, and Tank)!!!  Super Monkey was my prized possession, and the envy of my friends.  This was the best thing in the world!

So understandably I hesitated at the thought of giving it away.  Then I remembered something I heard 3 years ago:

“The best thing to do with the best thing in the world is to give it away, not keep it for yourself!”

Shane Claiborne said that in Urbana09 (check it out in one of the videos for Dec 29, 2009), and it has stuck with me, because some things are so counter-intuitive that it must be truth.

So I gave my Super Monkey to my nephew.  But he has no idea what Beast Wars is and how significant this toy was to me.  Moreover, I suspect that the 4-way transformation would be too challenging for his age.  In other words, I am absolutely certain that he will never fully appreciate the awesomeness of Super Monkey.  Then did I just let my childhood treasure go to waste?

Despite my 2 seconds of hesitation, giving Benji my most treasured childhood possession made me love him more.  It sounds cheesy, but it’s actually quite profound:  Of course, I loved him before this too, but prior to this there was that part of me that loved myself more than I loved my nephew – the part that hesitated.  I had loved Benji, but only to the point where I could still keep my Super Monkey.  But now that part of me is dead, and I can love my nephew more than I did before.

On the surface it seems that I’ve lost my treasure; but actually I just gained a greater love for my nephew.  What more can a man trade for his Super Monkey?  Indeed, the best thing to do with the best thing in the world is to give it away, not keep it for yourself.

***

I realize this anecdote isn’t an adventure or a uniquely noble thing.  It’s just an over-analysis of what uncles do all the time.  But it’s one small step in my journey to being a more loving person.  If I keep giving away my best things, what would I have gained by the end of my life?  When common sense says to think of me, me, me, truth says think of Love and what is Good.

Simeon Koh

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