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Re-education

I often wonder if my role as a parent lies not so much in the education of my children, but in protecting them from the process of "growing up" which seems to rob them of the many wonderful attributes they already intrinsically possess.
When Anne used our bathroom two nights ago, she used the last scrap of toilet paper on a used roll, when the rest of us adults had already moved on to a brand new roll. When she was done, she picked up the toilet roll core and laughed aloud with glee — she now had another to add to her huge collection of handmade toys.
Her table is strewn with them: used toilet rolls fashioned into binoculars and telescopes; old Yakult bottles carefully painted over and decorated, each holding a different prize she placed in them; used pieces of cardboard formed into a treasure chest, complete with sticky tape hinges and a rounded cover. She lives in this bohemian paradise created by her own two hands, a pair of scissors and her unlimited imagination.
This very moment of reflection has me a little embarrassed to find myself struggling with a depleted sense of self-worth. I find myself wanting things I don't need, whether it is a condominium so the kids can go swimming whenever they like, or a car that'll open up new places and adventures for us. The fact that I can't quite afford these things gets to me a little, and I sometimes wonder if all this "serving the people" kool-aid that I've been feeding myself to a life spent in public service will eventually leave me bitter.
It is also in these moments God speaks to me through my children, reminding me that joy is not found in possessing things, but in creating things. Creating things that make others happy, creating things that communicate beauty and goodness. Creating things, whether words or music, photographs or living memories that fill the moment with such abundance brings true happiness. Coming back to where it all begins — to the Creator — and being thankful not just for the things we have, but for the things we can share.

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