Well, I guess it’s that time of year again, when kids wonder which list they’re on and the shopping malls turn into WWE ring replete with flying elbows, knee blocks and the occasional sucker punch. Or, to take words from the mouth of that immortal six-year-old philosopher, Calvin: “How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer conglomerates. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? It’s a beautiful world all right.” (Watterson)
Personally, I’m hoping enough of my year passed muster that I’m on the Good Kid list because I’ve got a few things I’d like to ask for.
When I was younger, my list would have been populated by wants for toys and consumables and fleeting material desires. Truthfully, there are still parts of me that would like to give you a list like that again, but there are things I need more – things I’d like to share.
Just a year or two ago, I would have topped my grown-up list with heady items like world peace and an end to hunger. This year, though, I’ve pared my list down to just one thing:
A little more understanding.
I want to be more understanding with my children, so when they come to me with a toy creation I have no real desire to see, I understand it is important to them that I take time out of my life to appreciate their effort. If I can learn to be understanding with them, then perhaps they will be more understanding with others.
I want to understand my partner better, so I take what she brings my life a little less for granted.
I want people I have not yet met to be more understanding of one another, so that people of different beliefs and opinions can hold onto those ideals without developing a dislike for others who hold contrary positions.
I struggle to understand what keeps people pursuing the political life, when it looks like all they are after is power. Out of a hope that the point of light that started their journey still flickers somewhere, I need to understand that not all of their decisions are bad ones just because I disagree. We all need to understand we are responsible for the system our politicians are forced to live in.
We all need to understand that this oddly blended season of true and forced joviality is not for everyone. For some, the Christmas carols and rampant consumerism is all too much and January cannot come too soon.
We need to understand that sometimes the best thing we can do is sit in quiet contemplation of our lives.
Most of all, we need to understand that while we are all equal, we are not the same.
Maybe it’s too much to ask, Santa, but I’m not asking for this understanding all at once, nor am I asking for it just for myself. Dispensed in dribs and drabs in homes around the world will suffice.
Because we can all
use a little more understanding.