The Gift of Time
by Patti Cleary
As parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, we are all looking for the perfect gifts for the holidays. We spend money, time and thought into making the season special and meaningful. It’s a joyful kind of busy, but is it always the best way to truly make a memorable holiday?
As an educator, and more importantly as a parent of grown children, my advice to you is to remember to spend time with your children and other loved ones. I can’t tell you what my children bought me for Christmas last year, but I certainly remember the precious time we spent as a family. Since my children now live hours away, I am very careful to protect the time I have with them.
When my kids were little, memories were made when we read together, played board games together, went sled riding and watched movies together. They might remember some of their childhood gifts, but the family memories are what come up in conversation now when we’re together. My son and daughter still make fun of my off-key singing to “Gimme Shelter” when we played Rock Band, and we all still belly-laugh at “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” even though we have seen it together almost every Christmas.
Now that I don’t see them on a daily basis, I wish I had made more time for these moments when they were growing up. Sometimes I was too busy shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking and I was too worried about paying the Christmas bills!
Studies and surveys reveal that children, yes, even teenagers, consider their parents the most important people in their lives. They may not always act like they think this, but when they are asked, it is plain that kids really rely on their parents for security and love.
This year as you are preparing for the holidays, give your loved ones the gift of time. Involve them in the baking and decorating. Play games, go to movies and create memories together. And remember to be kind to those you love, even if the “perfect” holiday has some imperfect moments. Time is one gift that will never be forgotten or taken back for an exchange.
From all of us at Barberton City Schools, have a blessed, memorable Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and a very happy New Year!