This post (and this trip) is made possible in part by the generosity of our book sponsors.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned and relearned during almost six months on the road, it’s this: the place and the things and even the food are secondary to the people.
The people with whom you spend the day are what determine how satisfied you feel when it is over. And not just the existance of the people, but the time you get to spend with them.
While in Memphis last month, I read The Wonders Inside: The Earth to my daughter and Faiqa’s. It’s a children’s book from Silver Dolphin Books (one of our trip sponsors) about volcanoes and mountains and other geological stuff. The girls sat with me for almost an hour on the couch, pointing and asking questions and generally finding excuses to keep the reading time going.
The next night they asked to read 3D Explorer: Planet Earth, another book about volcanoes and mountains geological stuff.
These books are great, yes. They make geological stuff interesting for little minds with cool pictures and pop-up pages. But the truth is that it’s not the content or the pictures that make the books so special.
It’s the time.
The girls were delighted to have time with an adult, something they never seem to grow tired of. (Ever. Seriously. EVER.) Every night when Emma asks for a bedtime story, one she wants read to her despite the fact that she can read most things on her own now, it’s because of the connection that comes from sharing something.
We get it when we’re kids. We seem to forget so easily as adults.
Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t about turkeys or trinkets. No holiday is really about the traditions or gifts that might come with it. They’re about time. The rituals are merely an excuse, a means to connect, whether with God or with people or maybe with ourselves. They are a reminder to take the time.
This year, I’m going to make a concious effort to give gifts of time.
I’m already thinking books for kids (because of my previously mentioned experience) and babysitting nights for parents of young kids. We’re also going back to Iowa for three weeks over the holidays, a big fat gift of time in itself.
How else can we give the gift of time this year?
(That’s not a rehtorical question. I need ideas!)