Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Family Time for Christmas
Today was a day to spend focused on my family rather than on others, or for that matter, on myself. That sounds like such a simple statement, and yet it brings with it a variety of thoughts.
For most of the past 362 days (remember, I started 3 days early!), I've focused my attention on finding ways, large and small, to do a variety of acts of kindness for people outside my immediate circle of family and friends. I did this purposely because I wanted to stretch my normal horizons and work on developing the habit of noticing and acting upon opportunities to put more kindness into the world. By being focused outwardly, I of course ran the risk of failing to practice as much kindness with my own family as I potentially could. I tried to stay mindful of this as best I could.
Like no other day of the year besides perhaps Thanksgiving, Christmas is a day where most people are truly with their families. Virtually all businesses are closed, the streets are mostly empty, and Facebook timelines are filled with pictures of people, surrounded by loved ones, many of whom traveled great distances to be together. Being a mixed religion family, the religious part of Christmas holds no particular meaning to me personally, but we've nevertheless created many family holiday traditions over the years.
As I participated in some of those traditions today, I was thinking about our own children and the memories they'll have of these traditions many years from now, as well as the traditions they may carry on or create with their own families someday. I tried to make sure that I was as present (no pun intended) as I could be for them today. No matter how long we may have spent opening gifts, having a big brunch and a bigger dinner, it was a day simply to be with them.
While I'm keenly aware that there are families around the world, including many in the United States, who are suffering today, I chose not to think about others for one day. To a large degree, I chose to be selfish today. I chose to think about my own family right here in my own house, and to try to be the best father and husband I could be for them today.
Tomorrow, I'll think about others again . . .