Friday, November 14, 2008

On Gratitude

It has started all ready. The annual Yuletide flood of catalogs, ads, and lists of wants and needs compiled by children who either still believe in Santa or think Mom and Ooma have a bank account roughly the size of Fort Knox. They will all get some of what they want. no one will get all they want. Hopefully they will all be happy. I always worry about this. Particularly this year with finances squeaky tight. My belief is that Yule is about so much more than the gifts. But I am not 4, or 12 or even a disabled 23 year old. We work hard to have other facets of the holiday have great meaning, the lights, the decorations, the baking. The giving of baked and handmade items to friends and neighbors. The music of the season. These all have their place and make the holiday more than a giant gimme party.

But I had somewhat despaired of our kids getting this. Well not all our kids. KC and Lissa are young enough where they get caught up in whatever we are doing. It is all fun and magical and they will buy in. But my Rob is my middle guy. And Rob definately defines his happiness by things. Having things. Buying things. Planning on buying things. And not just any thing. Expensive things. Like a big screen TV. Video games that cost enough to buy our food for nearly a week. And so on. However this morning I have hope. Heifer Project sent me two catalogs this year. I have left them on the island in our kitchen and Rob has been perusing them at breakfast. He was stunned to learn from reviewing the catalog that one of the things one could do was to help buy school supplies for children in the USA. "Here?" he asked in a puzzled voice. "In our country?" Yes, there are hungry people here. Yes there are children who don' t live in areas where the schools provide the tools they need for learning. He shook his head in wonder.

"Look Ooma, a flock of chickens doesn't cost much does it? Do they eat them?" Being vegetarians the thought of them consuming meat doesn't thrill him, but I remind him that they will also use the eggs and be able to sell the eggs to get money for other things they need to buy. He is excited now, looking at the options. Sure there is an ark of animals for $5000 but there are bees and goats and a host of other options that are more affordable.

In our kitchen we have a money jar. One of those gizmos that count your change as you put it in. The deal is that anyone who has spare change or finds change puts it in there. Right now it is virtually empty because we used the money to donate to UNICEF in October. But now Rob has a new plan. We will all save our change during the year and we will decide what to buy from the Heifer catalog next winter with our savings. No matter what is under the tree this year, I just got the biggest gift ever. The gift of a child learning the meaning of generosity.

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