Friday, November 30, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Another kind of gift


It's that time of year when gifts are on the mind. Shopping for gifts, giving gifts, returning gifts etc.

I read an article a couple weeks ago where the reporter asked Mitt Romney about what his family does for Christmas and what's the best gift he has ever given any of his kids. His answer was "opportunity". I like that. (he's loaded as we know so he could give his kids awesome stuff!!)

But really opportunity is a great gift. One thing I get annoyed at my kids for is not realizing the opportunities they are given, or mostly taking them for granted.

Junior couldn't understand why I was freaking out over him not getting his college stuff done ASAP and instead taking his usual la de da approach. Because if your parents can afford (ok well maybe have to sell a limb in the process) to send you to the colleges of your choice and you have the opportunity to seek your heart's desire then you better get on the ball, because you're quite fortunate to have that opportunity.

Or Shorty (gotta get him a new name soon I am only about 5 inches taller than him as of late) who I think is starting to get it. He got grounded because his latest "video game that I play online with all my friends and yell the whole time" was coming first before other responsibilities. I am sitting in another room surrounded up to my ears by tubs of Christmas decorations screaming to get out, while waiting for him to get off that game (called him 5 times) and come to work on his Coral Reef project. Now I dont mind helping him with projects, I can be quite crafty and help him figure out cool stuff. But when I am QUITE busy with other things and I am taking time out to help him he better get his butt to the kitchen table pronto. Again the opportunity to have a parent that has time to help you with your school projects and you're not some kid who has to do it all by yourself. When he went to bed that night I said "Sorry but you had to get grounded this time." (he very rarely does) He said "No, mom I know you were ready to help me and I should have gotten off my game right away". Oh. And I was ready to give a lecture. Shut me up that time.

So while like most of  Santa's elves, I love to tick off my kids' Christmas lists, and let's face it they get pretty much everything between Santa, grandparents, aunts and uncles those are not among the best gifts they receive.

Opportunity is one. And one that I always remind them of when complaining about college essays, having to clean skunk off a brand new car (yes skunk...guess who?) or being mad about getting screwed out of "real" trick or treating meanwhile the town around you has washed away and your life hasn't changed much.

Opportunity is one of the best gifts a parent can give their children. I am a firm believer in the next generation doing better than the one before. That comes from the generation before sacrificing and giving the next all the opportunities they can. Then teaching them not to squander their opportunity but take it, run with it, appreciate it and use it well. That's one lesson I hope my kids learn. And I hope they take it and pass it on to the next generation of lucky kids.

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