It’s 1983ish, and all I want is the coveted Cabbage Patch Kid. Remember those outlandish dolls with each one signed by Xavier Roberts….on their hineys no less? Such a doll was considered a luxury in our house, and on a pastor’s salary, we didn’t buy luxuries. I’ll never forget the Christmas I asked for the Cabbage Patch Kid. I woke up in the middle of the night to get a head’s up on what awaited me that morning. (My mom still displayed my gifts as if from Santa….even after I discovered his non-existence.) The doll I found was an imposter – a less expensive version of the ridiculously priced doll. I remember the feeling of disappointment. However, I also remember going back to bed and mustering up the gusto to still put on a happy and grateful face the next morning. And, I did.
You see, even at a young age I had an understanding of gratitude. And, not receiving this gift made me appreciate my parents even more. They could not provide the Cabbage Patch, but they still made sure I didn’t lack.
I can’t help but wonder if I am instilling that same sense of gratitude and appreciation in my own children for not only things, but for those who give them. It’s a hard line. While Kris and I have the capabilities to provide such luxuries to our children, should we? Well, sure. But, how much is too much? It’s very tough as parents to draw that line.
I am thankful for the opportunities to give to John Henry and Anna. However, I hope that the gifts they receive go beyond material possessions. I hope they receive the gift of gratitude, the gift of compassion, the gift of mercy, the gift of faith, the gift of hope, and the gift of love….above all else.
And, to my parents who never knew (until now) of that brief disappointment, thank you. That Christmas, you gave me more than you know. For that, I am truly grateful.
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11
5 responses to “The greatest gift I never received.”
Bravo! Bravo! Well written and with the heart you have, I KNOW God has used you to impart gratitude and the fruits will be there in your children’s lives! It is a great gift to be content, to be fullfilled, and to “know” the best is with the heart! YOu are sooo sweet in your writings!
love you much!
Along the lines of being able to afford something for your child versus the questions of is it really best to give it to them: I do believe, that out of all the sixth grade twelve year old girls in their “group”, Lesley and Reese are the only ones who do not have their own personal cell phones!!! The Hitsons and the McIvers are terrible parents!!
And for the story above: what a blessing of a daughter you are. And believe me, your mom and dad know it.
Those dolls are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO scary anyhow. You were REALLY better off without one.
As a mother of of a 17 year old and a 13 year old, how much is too much is a hard question to answer. I will tell you that our 17 year old, “miracle baby” has thought the world revolved around him since day one. Our fought? Yes, along with friends and family. Our 13 year old, is much more appreciative of every material thing she gets and takes much better care of her stuff. Is is a gender thing or first born? I don’t know. I remember laughing years ago when a wealthy doctor’s child that could buy us 10 times over told our son that he was rich because he had a 4 wheeler. I had to laugh because it was an old used cheap 4 wheeler but it did run. I guess that is what kids think rich is. Since our kids were old enough to play, we have coached t-ball, baseball, softball, etc. Or have just been at every practice and game to cheer them on, play nurse when one of them or their teammates got hurt, take pictures, or any other way that we could be a part of their lives and their friends. I guess as parents, we just always want to be able to give our kids more than our parents could financially give us. Well, what we have learned is that what kids want more than anything is our time and love. We were much better off as kids with our parents time and love than any material object that exists. We got that from our parents and they were there to cheer us on at softball games and baseball games and Boy Scouts, and any other activity that we took part in as kids. Now that we are older, we can never repay our parents for the Godly Heritage that they gave us. No, we didn’t get a new bike every Christmas but we were much more thankful for everything that we got! So, as parents of 2 teenagers, we say coach soccer, t-ball, or any sport that your kids love. If you don’t coach, just be there to cheer them on: to have fun and be the best person that God has made them to be. Let them know that their actions don’t just effect them, but they are a reflection on their parents, Grand Parents, their school, church, and most importantly God. If you start now, maybe your teenage years with JH and Anna will be easier and less dramatic and confusing than ours have been. Someone told me the other day that that is why God made them so sweet and cute as babies so that we don’t pinch their heads off as teenagers. No matter how stupid they think we are when they are teenagers, some how we get smarter to them at about age 25, just as we found out about our own parents! As our parents get older and decline in health, we realize that no matter what we do for them or the amount of time we spend with them will never be enough to repay them for what they have done for us all of our lives. Our prayer is that one day, our kids will be able to say the same thing about us!
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