We are hearing so much depression surrounding Christmas this year. Maybe we can do better than that ...
You are Entitled to ...
by Ted L Glines
Toys For Tots has less toys than tots this Christmas. It looks like some kids will have no toys this year. Because of our downturned economy, some parents simply do not have Christmas money. Others are being cautious with vulnerable assets and are spending less. Surrounding the potential for kids' disappointment on Christmas, we are seeing a rising feeling of guilt. Dr. Phil is saying that we are facing an entitlement crisis in this country. Is he correct? Are we entitled to lavish stacks of new toys under our tree on Christmas Eve? Are we at fault, and therefore guilty, because of the yawning emptiness under our tree this year?
We feel we are suffering a loss similar to that experienced by those who were impacted by the Great Depression, but this is far from the truth. In the American 1920s, there was not the grandiose proliferation of malls and chain stores and merchant holiday promotions. Our modern mania of credit cards did not have Depression people in debt beyond their means. Life was far simpler in those years and people felt entitled to the benefit of what they had earned and what they had saved. When the banks failed and jobs disappeared, and their debts could not be repaid, they felt grievious loss when all of their entitlements evaporated overnight.
But there is another way to view our entitlements. As with all complex equations, the smallest common denominator may be revealing.
As a white male in the United States, born in 1940, my life expectancy was calculated at 62.1 years. On average, I should have had my day of fame on the Obituary Page in 2002. It is humbling to study these actuarial graphs and realize that I am not entitled to be alive.
From National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 56, No. 9, December 28, 2007, Page 35
It could have been worse. Had I been born in 1900, my life expectancy would have been 46.6 years, and a person born in 1825 only had about 35 years of future.
Not entitled to be alive? That seems harsh, but sometimes the truth is less than kind. But a further truth tells us that we are not entitled to be alive, regardless of our age or year of birth. At the age of 17, my car made high-speed impact with a solid granite wall of stone. The auto was crushed like a squished aluminum can. I should have been killed. At the age of 19, I was involved in a shoot-out with police and I should have been a corpse on the pavement. Every person can tell their own stories of miraculous survival, and it becomes plain that we survive life one moment at a time, and we are not entitled to be alive to see the next moment.
Thus, what are you entitled to, if simply remaining alive is not in any way guaranteed? Viewed from that humbling perspective, suddenly a lack of 2008 Christmas gifts does not feel like such a critical loss after all.
We are being offered an opportunity to return Christmas to its original spiritual and family values; intrinsic entitlements which were never about greed and colorful mounds of exorbitant waste. If you are a religious person, Christmas is a celebrated birthday and a promise of faith. If not, Christmas remains a warm time of family fellowship and an opportunity for caring visits to those in need. Hugs and kisses cost nothing and are always more than welcome. And Christmas is a wonderful time to recognize and celebrate the good things in our lives. You may find that Christmas 2008 is the best one in your life, and you are entitled to that if you make it so.
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|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
|TED - AMEN, my friend - AMEN!
A small point - my all-time favorite store, all year long is - DOLLAR TREE - EACH AND EVERY, OF THOUSANDS OF ITEMS IS ALWAYS $1 - small things, like canned goods, and greeting cards are 2 for $1.
I have earned a reputation within my family of being the one who always brings laughter from my small gifts - usually, I only spend say $20. for someone's birthday, let's say -
but there is a whole bagful of mixed articles - some practical, some silly, some jokes, some functional - but taken together = FUN!
For years now, I have given such gifts for Christmas presents - is it not "the THOUGHT that counts?" A small cheap $1 gift is affordable to almost everyone! Whether it is a nice cinnamon-scented Candle, or a pack of 10 Votive Pine-scented candles, or a small golden Angel, or a cute cuddly Christmas Bear, or a 500 piece Puzzle, or a pair of pliers, or gloves, or knit hat or scarf, or whatever - EVERYONE GETS SOMETHING!
Another little, but important thing is this - at DOLLAR TREE, when checking out at the register, the cashier asks if you would like to DONATE a gift for a child, a toy - I ALWAYS SAY YES! No matter what total I have spent, one more mere DOLLAR will not break me! Just imagine if EVERY STORE DID THIS - there would be NO CHILD WITHOUT A PRESENT!
Another thing - I do NOT maintain a huge library of DVD movies, like many people do. WHY? Because all year long, when I do buy cheap, pre-viewed films for $5 each, they are all later given away as Christmas gifts! And guess what - in a family gathering of 10 people, they can SWAP them if they choose, or later, after watching - then SHARE with each other.
ENTITLEMENT? YES - ENTITLED TO HELP, AND CARE FOR OTHERS, LESS FORTUNATE!
|Reviewed by Georg Mateos
|Born in 1925, I should have been quarreling with St. Peter since 1985, yet, I still quarreling with you, old geezer!
|Reviewed by Keith Rowley
|Truly human. Truly enlightening. Thanks
|Reviewed by Bonnie May
|Wonderful write in showing us to enjoy everyday til the last. Well done Ted, Love, Bonnie|
|Reviewed by John Martin
|I enjoyed your article, well written. You are right on target. Christmas isn’t really about gifts of toys to children. … it’s about the gifts that a special child gave to the world. Love and Caring…. There is overwhelming abundance of them that he has placed in our hearts …and they are free, even in the worst of economic times. So give them freely everyone in need in honor of that child. Merry Christmas Flying Fox.|
|Reviewed by Rose Rideout
|Ted what a wonderful write as I believe in the true meaning of Christmas and the fact that we will live til we die.A lot of us take each day for granted. Thsank you for sharing a wonderful article.
Newfie Hugs, Rose