Monday, December 6, 2010

It Starts Young

Blogdom has shifted from gratitude at Thanksgiving to over consumption during the holidays. Post after post gives us advice about lowering our stress, avoiding bankruptcy, and focusing on meaning instead of the mall. But I fear we are fighting an uphill battle.

My daughter went to a Catholic elementary school. At Christmas, each class sang a song in the Christmas service. Her first grade class was going to sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which includes the refrain “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

Some of the words were hard, but she practiced and practiced. She would stumble a bit through the verses, but when she got to the refrain, she would belt it out with rejoicing that could be heard all the way to Israel, I’m sure.

Then, shortly before the service, I listened more closely. Instead of reverently singing “rejoice, rejoice,” she was greedily singing “New toys! New toys!”


  1. One of my favorite things this time of year is listening to children sing and watching their performances......! and you know toys are kind of fun!

  2. I guess she is rejoicing in advance hoping for new toys :-)

  3. I agree, but all that over-consumption and greed doesn't apply to kids. Greed, ingratitude, and the destruction of the meaning behind our holidays belongs to us!

  4. Yes, new toys are fun indeed! And since she has grown into a pretty cool young adult, I can look back on that memory with fond indulgence.

  5. Hi Galen,

    I remember not too long ago what it was like to be a kid who wanted new toys hehe! I still like new toys, but they are no longer everything to me. I suppose as I become more aware of the world and what it is trying to make me do, I try to rise above it and not be too affected by over consumption during the holidays. It helps that I try to find meaning in all that I do and that material stuff does not have that great a hold on me. It may be because I am in INFJ I suppose.

    Still it's good to read that your daughter turned out to be a pretty cool adult. That can only mean that you have raised her well. :)

    Thank you for sharing this post!

    Irving aka the Vizier

  6. Galen Pearl, I knew there was a poem with that title... We have A Duty To Be Happy,

    Not only is there a right to be happy, there is a duty to be happy. So much sadness exists in the world that we are all under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers. - John Sutherland Bonnell
    and by Robert Louis Stevenson he adds, There is no duty so much underrated as the duty of being happy! ;)

  7. What a precious memory of your daughter singing! And you are right about the over consumption... we have cable tv now and the commercials for all of the things you can buy or the programs about how to decorate. Oh. My. Goodness!

  8. New toys! New toys! I love it! :) Kids are great!


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