The other day I was shopping with Abby and Will at Target. Abby wanted to pick out some Christmas wrapping paper on this particular day since it was getting close to Christmas. There were several aisles of wrapping paper and it was a little confusing when looking at all the patterns and designs. I thought it best at that point to let Abby make the choice as to which one to get. Will and I were not as interested at the time when choosing as Abby seemed to be. For her, it was an adventure.
When it came time to choose, Abby brought me a beautiful tube of glittering gold wrapping paper. I was impressed with her choice, that is, until I looked at the price. There was little paper on the roll at a rather high cost. At that point my interest was sparked and we discussed the options, and then we started to see if there were any others that were cheaper and had more paper for about the same price. After looking for several more minutes, Abby brought to me a roll of paper that held three times the amount as the previous roll that she showed me, all for about the same price. We settled on this roll, which gave me a chance to speak with them about people and wrapping paper.
I asked Abby if she liked the wrapping paper that we picked out and she said that she did. I mentioned to her that her first choice was awesome and that the paper was very beautiful. Abby responded by saying, “But daddy, it was too expensive and this will do fine.” This led me into telling them that people are a lot like wrapping paper. Both looked at me rather quizzically as if to think out loud, “Perhaps daddy spent too much time in the wrapping paper aisle?”
Clearing my throat, I started to say that people are much the same as the paper we just saw. There are some individuals that are like the beautiful paper that we first looked at. They have a lot of surface beauty on the outside, but they don’t have much substance. About that time both children glanced over at me with questioning looks that told me that I needed to explain things in more depth.
Repeating my earlier statement to them about substance and beauty, I continued to say, “Some people strive for outward beauty while their lives are filled with their own wants, and they have little time for people in their lives, other than to meet their own needs. People outside their world do not hold value in their estimation.” I could tell at this point that I had sparked their curiosity so I continued.
“You see kids, these individuals many times are catered to by the world because of their outward beauty, much like movie stars and the like. Some of them are handed much and give little in return. On the other hand, there are some who have rather average appearances on the outside, much like the paper that we decided on, and they surprise us with a lot of substance, and they ask for little in return.”
“What do you mean daddy, are you saying that I shouldn’t try to look pretty?” I looked over at Abby and said, “No sweetheart, it is good to look pretty, but strive to have a beautiful and caring heart as well.”
“You see kids, just like the plain paper that we bought, it will be thrown away or put into the fireplace after we have opened the presents. The paper only covered that which was of real value, and that was under the wrapping paper. The real treasure was not in the paper. That does not hold any value; it is that which is on the inside that counts. The same can be said about people that we meet. When we find a person who is kind and loving, we hold on to that friendship, because that is where real beauty lies, that which is in the heart and mind.
“Are you saying then that mommy was not pretty when you met her?” “No, not in the least sweetheart, she was and is very beautiful, and that is what first drew me to her, but it was that which was in her heart that made me fall in love with her.”
|Great grandma Marjie, Abby and Anne|
“You see children, when we die and go to heaven, that which is in our hearts, along with our souls, will go with us and that is what lasts for eternity.”
We proceeded in silence for a long time and I knew in my heart that my children were thinking hard about our talk.