One Christmas when my son was in early elementary school he wanted one thing…
A Spiderman coat.
He was seriously pumped about getting a new most-amazing Spiderman coat.
Every present he opened, he was excited about
I mean, what kid wouldn’t get excited when they open up a new toy?
But his heart was set on a new Spiderman coat.
I remember watching him as he opened presents at Grandma’s house.
He was giggling and having fun
I noticed a little bit of anxiousness in his face when he was down to his last couple presents.
Then he was down to the final one.
He tore open the wrapping paper and opened…
A remote control car.
And he was not amused.
Seriously, he was NOT amused.
(He already had a remote-control car, after all.)
I actually have a picture of him with an intensely angry face holding his remote control car.
You see, we had pulled the ‘hide the most-wanted present in the other room’ trick on the kids that year.
He really did get his Spiderman coat. He just didn’t know about the secret present in the other room yet.
So his heart was filled with anger and disappointment in that very moment.
And I could go on about selfishness in this post or thankfulness or finding joy…
I could talk about all kinds of lessons I learned from this situation.
Yet, honestly when I look back on it, get a little sad.
(I also laugh about it too. Don’t get me wrong. And the picture of him is priceless.)
But I do also get sad to think that he would possibly feel in that moment that his parents would not get him what he desired most.
And while I am in NO WAY advocating that we as parents should by any means get our children all they desire.
Not at all.
Nor should we be putting the emphasizes on selfishness and getting stuff.
After all, selfishness and greed come naturally to kids.
We don’t have to teach them that.
Yet as a parent, I want my kids to feel not only cared about, but also understood as human beings.
I long for my kids to have the best opportunities and to be prepared for the life ahead of them.
I want to give my children gifts that show them I love them.
I have a desire to give my kids gifts that speak to their heart and show them that they are significant, understood, valued and truly loved.
And you know what?
Perhaps the way we as parents can show our kids those very things is not in showering them with a bunch of new ‘stuff’
Just so that there is an enormous pile of gifts under our Christmas tree.
(All so our facebook friends can see the pictures and comment on how amazing of parents we are for providing so many things for our kids.)
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to hear their heart, and give them something that truly speaks to what is important to them and shows them that they are truly understood and loved.