A Shifted Perspective
Do you ever see people’s Facebook highlight reel and feel like you’re not doing enough for your kids? Maybe someone is already posting pictures of Holiday baking and you haven’t even gotten your decorations down from the attic!? Does your neighbor have that perfectly decorated Norman Rockwell yard and yours, well, still needs raked?
Ok-stop readying and INHALE…EXHALE…
Guess what…you’re not alone and your holiday isn’t ruined!
I’ve been learning…slowly, but still learning. That the best life lessons we can give our kids is to slow down and just be present. There are life lessons, those teachable lessons, all around you and if you don’t slow down you are going to miss them.
My family and I love going on adventures. With 4 boys ranging from almost 15 down to 3 it’s just who we are and what we live for. From far away to just around the corner, we like to get out there and discover. In late November, we decided to adventure to downtown Charlotte, ride the light rail to Discovery place then walk around with hot chocolate enjoying the Christmas lights with a full belly from a new restaurant we decided to try out. Adventure was waiting, and it was fun and delicious! There’s one thing however my kids weren’t anticipating on discovering, all the precious homeless ladies and gentlemen and children.
Yes, we saw them all.
Sitting in the corner trying to stay warm. One mom with her sweet one in a stroller, begging silently with words written on a sign. Some begging not so quietly as you pass. I could see the looks on the faces of my little men. The harsh realities of life were stealing away from the bright lights and the full bellies. Our first encounter was with a precious older gentleman, asking for just $1 for a hotdog. In fact he said, “actually, I only need 85 cents more.” I stopped, pulled out my wallet, 5 sets of eyes on me, and I gave him all the cash I had on me, a $5 bill. I handed it to the gentleman and once he realized how much it was, the memory of the look on his face of astonishment and disbelief still brings tears to my eyes. I said “God bless you sir” and walked away, his face and that memory etched in our hearts forever.
We left downtown a couple hours later. We had a wonderful time and still made fun memories. But we also realized it’s not all about us. Our perspectives on what was truly important had shifted, in a good way. One of my guys said, “mom, let’s bring hand up bags with us when we come next week to see The Nutcracker!” “Yes, Let’s!” I said. We’ll bring as many as our arms and backpacks will carry. We’ll give them out with a hug and a Merry Christmas, a little changed for the better, forever.
You see, sometimes I think we get overwhelmed at the thought of not being able to do enough for everyone, so we just don’t do anything. But if we can do enough for just one person, then we’ve done enough.
Still want to try to accomplish your Norman Rockwell yard?
It’s not wrong to want to decorate, even elaborately. It’s wonderful to create fun memories for our children. But let’s slow down and take advantage of everyday object lessons around you. Reach out to those that need a hand up, and give your kids the best gift this year yourself.