When I worked for Social Services, I was devasted more than once as I sat in people's freezing cold homes at this time of year, looking at a branch of a christmas tree and hearing how the parent did not sign up in time for holiday help. Very often, I asked my children to donate something they had duplicates of to these families. One year Greg wrapped up a playstation 1 system that he had and Reagan gave up a magic hair beader for a little girl. I was always going through their dressers looking for clothes for kids I worked with that were close in size to my kids. Reagan was usually involved in my hunt, making suggestions of which outfits I should take. I used to stop them as we walked into our home at night and have them feel the warmth that hit us as we came in. Some people might think that was excessive, that our children should feel that heat in their home is a given. I wanted them to know that not everyone is so fortunate. I feel more confident that by making my kids aware of the daily struggles of people living in our community, in poverty, I have made them more grateful. Less likely to blindly beg for more, more, more. The turkey project proves it to me. I have heard both of my children tell people this year that they don't want anything for Christmas. I recently asked Reagan to make a list for one of her sets of grandparents because they like to get her clothes and they would prefer that she tell them which kind she likes. She told me while walking in the mall last weekend that she didn't want any toys, only clothes (which she needs anyway). Last year they got playstation 2 and guitar hero. This year there will be a few gifts, but mostly there will be a gentle reminder that travel baseball, dance lessons, the shoes and gear that go with both, and all of the other activities they participate in are special gifts they receive all year that we all get to enjoy as a family. I bet no one will be disappointed.
December 12, 2008
thankful for food, water and family who loves her
Reagan just brought home a thanksgiving project that I'm guessing was decorating the classroom up until this week. It is a turkey with three tail feathers coming off of his body and each feather relays something that reagan is thankful for. I was very taken by her responses, impressed actually. One feather says she is thankful for having a house, food and water. Another says she is happy where she lives. The third feather says she is thankful for having a family that loves her. Could it be that she is old enough to know that these things should not be taken for granted? What stopped her from saying she is thankful for her ipod shuffle or for having minutes on her trac phone or her DC sneakers? Could it be that I have done a good job making sure that she knows those things aren't important or necessary and that buying the latest craze is just plain not going to happen?
at 10:25 PM