Monday, December 12, 2011

The Way I See It

There are some things I need to get off my chest and out of my head. I figure holding them won't do me any good. I would hate to offend anyone and since everything posted here is my own opinion (unless otherwise stated) I can't imagine I would. If you are sensitive to opinion then you may as well stop right here.

I'd like to address this holiday season. I've heard so many negative comments regarding the holiday season. People throw hate around like it's a word to be used lightly. Well, it's not. They blame this time of year on everything and everyone. A friend posted the following on FB: "How about a month of obligations, overspending, difficult travel and horrible weather?" - The pitch for the month of December. First of all, who's fault is it that you feel obligated? Someone holding a gun to your head? Same with spending. If you don't have it to spare, why the heck are you spending it? Horrible Weather? We bitched and moaned all summer long about the heat. Now it's cold and gray and we are singing the same song. Don't want to get out in it? Stay home and watch the weather (however good or bad) from your window. It's as simple as that. And then there is the great divide. I'm starting to think everyone is a bit paranoid. If you don't believe in Christmas then don't celebrate it. If you believe it represents something non-religious, that's all you. If you do believe it is religious and want to celebrate it as such, then do it and stop worrying about those that don't. Having people celebrate it as a religious holiday or celebrating as a season of shopping shouldn't get you all riled up and angry. However you choose to celebrate, I'll be willing to bet angry and upset were not part of the plan. As far as I'm concerned, this holiday season is all about what I believe. How I choose to go about life in these final days of the year is my prerogative. You do what you like.

Now on to something I feel is a bit more important than the above. Parents and children. I think some parents underestimate what their kids are going through in life. We would all like to think childhood is the same as it was when we were kids but we would be dead wrong. Now what I have to say next might upset, anger or just rile some folk but it's my opinion. I think some parents have forgotten how to be the parent. They think being 'friends' with their kids will encourage them to be more open when there is a problem. Well, based on the headlines it seems kids aren't doing that. I think parents need to be as strong as they use to be. They need to once again be the hero; the role-model. If your child is having a personal problem that they are embarrassed, scared or worried about, they are less likely to go to a friend for help. They would probably prefer to go to someone they feel is bigger than that problem. So you being their friend is not necessarily going to help. When I was growing up my parents were the super heroes. I truly believed they could fix any problem. Why? Because they always listened and reacted in a way that said they would ALWAYS protect me. What child wouldn't want that? Sure I don't have kids but I have nieces and nephews and that's just as good. I'm lucky to be the aunt that they come to because they still think I'm cool like that. They tell me things that they think they can't tell their parents. I listen. I give my opinion and then I point them to their parent(s). Of course I also give my sister and brother (or in laws) and earful of how I think things should go down. They either take my advice or go about it the wrong way. Lol. Whatever. The point is, they are involved. That's all that matters.

Finally, I'd like to address this giving business.  My personal opinion is if you are feeling it, give. If you have to stop and think about where the gift is going, don't. I heard someone say that she gave money to someone on the corner but then she worried that the money was probably going to go towards alcohol or drugs. I asked her what made her give. She said she felt guilty. We may do many things out of guilt, but I don't think that giving should be one of them. I don't think there is anything worse than giving and then regretting. I don't think twice about donating. I don't wonder what kind of life that person lives. I only see someone that needs something at that moment. I sure as heck don't have a lot to give but I give what I can when I can. If I don't have it, I say a small prayer for them. To me prayer is worth more than any amount of change I can give. That's just how I roll.

All these thoughts came from conversations I've had in the last day or so. I'm lucky to be one that can sit amongst people and have them speak freely. Most people (who don't know me well) can't easily tell what my opinion is so I think they are comfortable. They must be because some of them talk a whole lot of smack about things they don't know. Lol. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Quote for the Day: “A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.” ~Kenneth A. Wells quotes


UsefulMom said...

I can attest to disliking the holidays because of the gift obligation. In my family, we don't give gifts because we want to or because they are meaningful. We spend a ridiculous amount of money and give gifts because that's what we're "supposed" to do. The gifts are usually disposable junk and trinkets. I return nearly all of it or end up donating or throwing it away if it's non-returnable.

I prefer taking time to slow down and enjoy spending time with the family and I like making home made gifts like soap, bath salts or cookie mixes. I sometimes also make donations to charities in family members' names. My family, however, doesn't really care for gifts like these. Basically, to them, I seem cheap. If I don't spend some serious moolah, it's not because I want to do something just for them, it's because I don't care about them enough to fork over the dough.

I can't think of one person in my immediate or extended family who doesn't go into debt over Christmas. That's what I don't like. And even if ask my family not to spend money on gifts for us, they do it anyway. And then I have to accept a gift I know they'll be paying off for months and at twice the purchase price. I've suggested drawing names, which worked in theory. I drew one name and bought a gift for the name I drew. Then came the gift exchange and everyone else had purchased gifts for everyone else, including me. But they said it was "okay" since we had to watch a budget (aka are poor.) But the real truth is that we only spend what we have available in cash. We don't put anything on a credit card and won't be paying it off till June. Unless I buy expensive gifts, I just can't win.

Seriously, the thought of their masked but disapproving faces when they open a homemade gift from me or opening a gift of expensive electronic junk that I will never use fills me with dread and anxiety. I'd just rather forgo gift-giving altogether.

Tatorgirl said...

Well after reading that I understand your frustration! But I have hope for you and your little family. Your kids will grow to know the value of giving from the heart. And that will more than make up for things now.

UsefulMom said...

That's what I'm hoping too. Thanks for always being able to look on the positive side of things. I always enjoy reading your pearls of wisdom. :)