“When I was your age, I had to walk in three feet of snow, barefoot, to school every morning after feeding the goats and herding the cattle,…” yadda, yadda, yadda. Ok. So that’s an exaggeration, but who doesn’t cringe when the old folks try to tell them how tough they had it and all of that stuff.
Whenever I would hear people go on about how hard they had it, I would think to myself: “geez, why would you even want to remember that?!?” I have always liked remembering the happy things in life, and just not lingering on the tough stuff. Like Christmas. Christmas makes me happy, and so do my many memories of Christmas while growing up.
My parents never had a lot of money, but we didn’t know it. I don’t think anyone I grew up with were ever really conscious of the financial situations in our households. Stuff like that was never talked about in front of the kids. We had all of our needs met, and that was all we needed to know. We were kept innocent of life’s up and downs as much as possible.
But, come Christmas, we thought we were millionaires! Santa came and left his whole sled of toys at our house, it seemed! I can still remember the year my sisters and I got the kitchen set. It was all metal, four pieces, “life” sized, and pink! It was the greatest thing, and my parents set it up in our basement with a table and chairs, and it seemed like we had our own little house down there! Hours of fun.
Then there was the year I got a typewriter. How I loved that thing! It was a kid’s manual typewriter, and I practically had to put all of my weight on the keys to make it type, but, again, hours and hours of fun! Now, there’s some great memories! Happy things that make me smile.
Now that I have become one of the elderlies, I find that I still wish to remember the nice things and great times. I tried to make Christmas a great time for my kids, and I look back with fondness of big holiday dinners with the extended families as well.
When I remember my childhood and teen-aged friends, and realize we are still friends today, I am awestruck at the strength of the ties that bind us together in life, and how very blessed we are to still care about each other. Our parents instilled in all of us the value of relationships.
But I also, in my later years, have come to appreciate the hardships that so many have gone through in their lives that have helped to mold mine.
When I look at my beautiful, intelligent daughters and granddaughters, I think about how, when my own mother was born, women still did not even have the right to vote in this country. I am humbled by the struggles of those who took up the cause to change the tide of history, recognizing women as humans who had a valuable voice to add to the process of making and sustaining this nation.
When I see a soldier in uniform at the airport, I remember how my father fought in WWll, and how many have sacrificed before him and after him, even to this day, to rid the world of tyranny that I can’t even imagine, in order to keep our nation free. I remember, and I am grateful beyond measure.
I don’t take lightly the sacrifices that people have made in their lives. In fact, the older I get, the more meaningful those sacrifices become to me. I realize that, in this world of social media in which we live, everything that happens to anyone in their lives is newsworthy. But is anyone ever looking at the deeper implication of some things? We see all kinds of stuff about everything from the antics of puppies and kittens to the horrors of human trafficking, but what does it all mean to us? When we read a story of someone else’s struggle, do we just shake our heads with a “tsk, tsk” and scroll to the puppies and kittens, or do we stop and pause to say a prayer for them, or see if there is a way to get involved? Are we rolling our eyes at the atrocities that some face, like we do when we hear an elderly begin a sentence with “when I was your age”…
I find that many times, I am guilty of the scroll. I choose not to take on the plight of others, and I am looking for the puppies. And I am ashamed of myself. So I fight it, and try to remember something my mother said to me many years ago: “everybody has a backstory”. In other words, don’t ignore the plight of others because you may not know what got them there. Instead, if you can, try to do something to make a difference. Remember what sacrifice someone might have made that helped form you. Think of a way you can be a better person.
That is what my blog is about this month. I challenge the readers to remember the good stuff, and pass those stories on to your children and grandchildren. Don’t let the traditions and memories die because it may not be easy to keep up with them.
I challenge you to remember the challenges some have faced in your family history. Then pass on those stories, for they have helped to make you who you are today.
And I challenge you, this Christmas season, to look at others, and see what you can do to make a difference in their lives. Remember it, and pass it on.
Tell them all, the stories of good, bad, hard and help. These, my friends, are the story of you. Pass it on, someone’s life will be made richer.
And may we always remember the reason we celebrate this season:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
Remember, and pass it on. May you all be richly blessed this season with the peace of God, may His grace be yours, may you be blessed in your comings and goings, and may you have a healthy and happy New Year!