November 24, 2006

What My Kids Want

It's midmorning, yet the frost has not completely disappeared from the shadowy corners. The coldest morning of the year so far here in the Sacramento Valley.

Early this morning, and even now, millions of shoppers are getting a head start on their Christmas shopping. Most stores opened at 5:00 a.m. this morning, and some folks even spent the night waiting in line for them to open. Hopefully they dressed warmly.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a day of being with family. It was also a day when those same shoppers who ventured out this morning asked repeatedly of their loved ones, "What do you want for Christmas?" Or, if they're more secretive, they tried to answer that question in their minds. All in preparation for this morning's shopping adventures.

I didn't ask that question yesterday. But I did listen for the answers, particularly from my sons. I'm one of those who like to be a little more secretive. However, the unsolicited answers they gave weren't what I expected.

"Dad, let's do something."

"Will you read to me?"

"When can we go to Turtle Bay?"

"Let's play a game."

When asked directly, "What do you want for Christmas?" their thoughts are automatically directed toward presents that they can unwrap on Christmas morning. That's what they've been conditioned to think of. But when they're not constrained by such expectations, and are allowed to share what they really want, very little of it has to do with stuff that comes from a store.

And when I think about it, what they want is really the same thing I want. More time together. More adventures. More exploration. More days like Wednesday, when we took a family trip to the foothills, visiting some apple orchards, and enjoyed a nature hike through a shady canyon. Christmas shopping may have officially begun this morning, but for me, the Christmas season began Wednesday, on an oak and cedar lined path through the hills.

... and not a Wal-Mart in sight.


PPB said...

so lovely.

HeyJules said...

Hi, Danny. I found your blog over at RWK's place.

Beautiful thought pastor was just talking about this last week. Finding a way to train our children to think of things for Christmas that relate to experiences (trips or outings with family members) instead of the newest, coolest toy. He also suggested sitting down the children and saying "Here's how much money we have for Christmas. How much do we want to keep for ourselves and how much do we want to give to others?"

All great ideas for a family trying to raise children with some values that you can't buy at WalMart.