The Gift of a Child

There’s always that one moment on Christmas Day. As Karen Carpenter sang, “Greeting cards have all been sent. The Christmas rush is through.” The shopping for, or making gifts that I hoped my friends and family would love, is complete. All the other activities are done. Decorating. Baking. Holiday concerts. Parties. Wrapping. Unwrapping.  Assembling. Playing.

Then there’s that singular moment of quiet. Surrounded by torn wrapping paper, empty boxes, candy from stockings. That moment of peace and stillness when a family’s love is truly palpable, and we remember the meaning of the day. Two centuries ago, Christians were given the gift of a child — small, unassuming, yet life-changing.  Seventeen years ago, I was given that same gift (and again a few years later). My children have been the greatest gift I could ever receive. And they are the gift that keeps on giving.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or just a family friend to a small child, I hope you can appreciate the gift that children represent.

  • My children are a built-in source of entertainment. I’m thrilled they inherited a humor gene. They make me laugh all the time.  This weekend, we were playing a board game where the players needed to complete popular advertising slogans.  Unfamiliar with the taglines, our kids substituted funny guesses. For Taco Bell’s “Run for the ____,” instead of “Border,” my son offered up “Bathroom” — which, if you’ve eaten too much spicy Mexican food, would be an apt slogan! On my daughter’s turn, she was given Nice ‘n Easy’s hair coloring’s slogan “The closer he gets___.” Instead of “…the better you look,” she suggested, “…the faster I run!”
  • We think we are here to teach them, but my kids teach me all the time. They reaffirm my faith in human beings when I witness their compassion for others. They teach me that I am stronger than I thought when I have to be strong for them. And sometimes, they teach me something new about my iPad — and for a techgeek like me, that’s saying something.
  • They are a gift of innocence and insight. If the world were run by children, we would all make friends quickly, forgive faster, and not be afraid to jump in with our whole hearts. Of course, we might also run with scissors, but that’s a small price to pay.
  • Children are a gift of patience. That might appear antithetical as it seems they can never wait — can’t wait for Christmas, can’t wait for their birthdays, can’t wait until they can drive, can’t wait until they graduate, can’t wait to grow up. But what they are really doing is helping us to be patient with them. As much as they are in a hurry to find their way and figure out who they are, we must be patient with them in order to guide them along the path to becoming the wonderful people they were meant to be.

Treasure the gift of children for they may not always be in our lives as they were when they were younger. Learn to let go, but always hold on to them in your hearts.

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