What do you want for Christmas this year?
It is only October. However, the Christmas season is just around the corner! Have you started your shopping yet?
When I was a child I would gleefully tear through the giant Sears catalog for hours, marking pages and dreaming about all the wonderful toys Santa would surely bring down the chimney to place around the tree. Pages were earmarked and images were circled and underlined in crayon. Mind all aflutter with visions of Christmas morning, it was hard for a boy to find sleep in December!
Yet, don’t we find that the older we get the shorter our wish list for “stuff” becomes? Visions of toys and candy are replaced with hopes for the health and wellness of family and friends. We dream of a Christmas that is filled with love and security, not candy canes and the G.I. Joe with the kung fu grip! We want food on the table and a warm house in which to sleep away the cold winter nights. Barbie’s and chocolate coins are no longer high on our list. It is because we come to value what really matters over time.
Each year we allow our residents to write their own wish lists. Many of those lists would break your heart. “I want to go home.” “I want a hug from mama.” “I need a new pillow.” “I don’t know what to want.” One kid once even wrote, “I just want Chinese food.” These wishes are revealing. They demonstrate a desire for something less material and more of substance and meaning. Love, family, safety, shelter, food… these are the real Christmas dreams of the children living on our campus. Don’t get me wrong, they want the fun stuff too! And, they shall have much of it thanks to donors and supporters like you. However, take a moment to consider the maturity of those other meaningful wishes coming from kids so young.
Again, love, family, safety, shelter, food… These are the gifts we seek to provide at Boys and Girls Homes of NC. Christmas is a time when many, many groups will reach out to us with a desire to provide toys, candy, and gifts for the children. Consider, however, the possibility of also giving an even greater gift that connects directly with the wish lists of our children. What can all of us do this Christmas season to support and resource the love, family, safety, shelter, and food that BGHNC provides?
Dr. Mason Fuller Smith is the Director of Community Engagement for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.