Teaching Your Children the True Meaning of Christmas
My goal this, and every Christmas, is to help my children appreciate that the holiday is not about what you get under the Christmas tree, but about cookies cherishing your family and recognizing the blessings we have received throughout the year.
I want them to understand that the gift is giving, not the Xbox. Or the DS. Or the wildly-popular-though-seriously-annoying toy making waves on TV. I want them to know that, the holiday is about so much more than door busters and flash sales.
But, teaching children to be less grabby and more thankful in today’s world is a challenge for many parents.
Even if you put aside the commercial stuff and the various trappings of modern society, I feel like selfishness is just a natural human characteristic.
Kids tend to learn the word mine pretty early on in their acquisition of the English language, and you have to actually work, hard in fact, to teach them to share.
Because sharing isn’t fun. And, it makes you feel icky inside when you see something that is clearly yours being drooled on by some other punk kid at the park.
It just does.
It feels right to hold on tightly to the people and the things that you love; to claim them and cleave to them so others can’t take them away from you.
So, instilling gratitude, and compassion, and empathy, and the joy giving into children is one of parents’ toughest jobs.
It even goes against your own inclinations to do so. Like, I want my children to learn to share, but I don’t really want to share them with anyone. I prefer them to pick spending time with me over spending time with their friends. I have to put my inner mama bear in a headlock when it’s time to give them independence and send them out into the world. Because I will worry about them, and miss them, and want them always within arms reach for a cuddle and stuff.
Sure, I know they need to have experiences to grow into healthy, happy human beings. And, I really, really do want them to be healthy, happy human beings. But, mostly, I just want them to be my babies forever, and the fact that they are nearly my height already doesn’t change that.
I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that this is my son’s last year in elementary school. He will be in high school in four years, driving 5, and possibly leaving my home in 7.
The very thought of sitting in this house, listening to the clocks tick when all of them have gone off to college or work or wherever, makes me want to barf on my feet.
Seriously, I want them to never, ever leave me. Ever. While also wanting so hard for them to leave me and go on to awesome jobs and fabulous wives that I pick treat them well and love them and me so much that they allow me to visit them and my grandchildren as much as I want.
It’s a Catch 22 I guess.
Anyway, I am hopeful that in spite of my own selfishness (look, I’m working on it, okay, it’s hard), I am able to help The Dudes appreciate me all of the amazing things they have in life. I want them to be givers, not takers. I want them to be lovers AND fighters. And, I want them to feel the true spirit of Christmas.
And, I really, really, really hope they like this stupid X-box.