Some of the best things I’ve ever received in life weren’t the things I was hoping or looking for. In fact, it was the things I didn’t get that taught me the most in life. We live in a world where everything is presented to our children as rights of passage, which probably does the most harm.
Most kids have the same wants and desires; we were no different. We had the basics, clothing and shelter, although if it would have been up to us, the clothing would have been much different. We had occasional bicycles until stolen or broken. We got to go to the movies sometimes, to the roller rink when it was en vogue, and the basics to play sports.
We had enough, in fact probably more than enough, but like most other humans, we wanted more. I find it telling of human nature how children can never receive too much of anything. Regardless of how many toys a spoiled child has, they always want more. When a new toy is given, the desire for it wears off usually fairly quickly.
I also find it telling of human nature how a child often loves to show off and share the things they take the time to create. Whether it be drawings, colorings, things they’ve built, and the like. The gratification process of working to create something starts young. For some of us that desire never leaves us.
“I wish I had a motorcycle”! I shared with my dad on numerous occasions. One of his standard answers was, “Boy – you wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first”! Point made… Note to self; don’t waste time wishing…
As we got older the wording and understanding changed a bit, but not the object. The “I wish,” became the, “I want.” One of our dad’s other favorite sayings was, “You can be or have anything you want”! – “You want it, you gotta work for it”!
Given a choice, little kids and big kids alike, will choose the free gift every time. In our society how many adults would choose any differently? It seems the ones who are given the most without cost or effort are the ones who society has cheated out of their real birthright.
In many cases, the ones who never have to use the most precious gifts in this life, like patience, determination and perseverance, are the ones who miss out on what those attributes create. They create more than objects for the benefit of many, they also create a gratification that continues to increase in intensity from the little things produced as a child.
Those standard answers by parents are never the things children want to hear, but those standard answers coupled with the living examples of them are some of the greatest gifts children never get, at least not at the time. Talk about a gift that keeps giving… I’d say these qualify. Something to think about this Christmas season. Are the gifts we give going to last a couple months or a lifetime?
I’ll bet for most of us who go out of our way to get our children the things we never had, have not stopped to consider and count the blessings of a simple life.
Starting with the things we never had…