‘Tis the season when kids make their lists and we check them twice, determined to please the ones we love with that perfect gift. But before we gear up for another trip to the shopping mall, let’s take the time to stop. Breathe. Put those lists down. And consider.
What is it our kids truly need?
Written between the lines of holiday wants lies something deeper. Something more costly than anything our imaginations can conjure up. Something that can’t be bought at the mall.
My friend once lamented that she got a second job so she could get her kids all they needed, only to find they needed something more. Her hours of labor provided for material things while robbing her family of precious time together. She was slowly losing her kids to technology, and eventually to gangs, drugs, and more. Looking back, her greatest regret was missing out on her kids’ lives for the sake of getting them more stuff.
As we think of the kids in our lives, most everyone would agree one of our greatest endeavors is to make them happy. It’s at this juncture that we stand to lose the very thing we venture to gain. If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.
If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up credit card debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off. More than our presents, they need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.