Today, a 16-year-old who I’ve never met inspired me to worry less about the wrong things as a mom. I was perusing the Internet searching for things to write about when I came across a story about Ben Wilkinson, an Australian teenager, who recently posted on a community board about what Christmas really means to kids -- and it isn’t about the fancy presents.
Ben said he was inspired to write the post after reading messages from several parents that were worried about providing a great Christmas to their kids while being financially strapped. This is my first Christmas as a single mom, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the same thing.
His message is a simple one of love and laughter and family mattering more than expensive gifts, but the fact that it comes from a 16-year-old makes it even more impressive. Ben has inspired me to just chillax these next couple of days, play with my kids as much as possible, and remember that you can’t buy the love that we share as a family.
Here’s his post:
SO, I've been seeing a lot of posts about people having troubles around Christmas and them being worried about their kids getting presents.
I am 16 and when I was a kid growing up my family didn't have lots of money and when my mum left my dad we were living on nothing but Centrelink payments, so as a result through my childhood money was always tight.
I can tell you that my childhood was still amazing because it was never about the money or having fancy things. When Christmas came around, my mum would wrap everything up - new school bags, stationery and broken toys and me and my brother loved it!
When you're living rough and you are worried about what your kids think, I'd like you to know some of my best memories are of broken chairs when the top didn't fit to the frame so it was an adventure to sit down; of couches that if you didn't sit on the frame you would fall through and of TV sets that you had to hit to get working and that had two channels.
As long as you make sure your kids know you love them and all of you are still laughing, your kids will remember their childhood as brilliant.
I promise every parent it's not about the money, it's about being a family.
So you should all stop worrying about whether you can get your kid the best present worth a $100.
Christmas will always be amazing for your kids, even if what you get them is from the $2 shop.
Everyone have an amazing Christmas and remember how great Christmas is, isn't decided by how much you spend.
Are you inspired by Ben's words?
Image via Joe Buckingham/Flickr