Dads: It's Time to Tell Them What We Want for Christmas
Running Thoughts #87
Hi, I'm Scott, and this is my sometimes weekly newsletter about life, learning, and, occasionally, running.
This prompt struck a nerve — over 20,000 likes in two days!
As a Dad, I had to see what was inside. Like this guy:
At first, I saw what I expected:
The Practical: Tools, like the Battery Daddy (which had 1,657 likes AND testimonials from last year’s gifters) or a screw-in LED light for the garage.
The Sentimental: A hand-written coupon for a one-hour walk in the woods, a new mailbox filled with handwritten letters, and a “Best Dad” mug still used daily 10 years later.
But this one struck home:
Being ambiguous or declining gifts “puts stress on the people around us.”
I've spent a lifetime deferring gifts. A trait learned from my Dad.
Materially, I feel like I’m all set. Those few things I lack, I buy for myself throughout the year (another common gripe in the thread above).
I feel guilty getting gifts. Clothing gifts are the absolute worst. Seriously, is there a required amount of wear before I donate?
But, this IS a problem. Not just a Christmas problem, either.
As I try to be a better husband, I’m reading The Meaning of Marriage by Pastor Tim Keller. He shares an anecdote of a short trip out of town with his wife and kids. One day, all he wanted was to check out a local bookstore, but he never told his wife.
He didn't want to burden her alone with the children and, instead of communicating, behaved like a grump becoming increasingly resentful when she never magically guessed what was on his mind.
When he finally admitted his desire, she was angry with him because he deprived her of the opportunity to show her love.
If you replace the bookstore with an online workshop, happy hour, or time for a run, this is no longer an anecdote but MY daily life.
Keller describes the situation where we serve others, but refuse to be served as manipulative. By failing to provide opportunities to others, we're failing THEM.
Part of being loved is opening your heart to be loved. Human connection requires love to travel in BOTH directions.
Our stoicism is hurting those around us.
As we're less than a week from Christmas, I've shot down all my wife's gift ideas because I'm a picky pain in the @@@.
This is my attempt to be specific about how others can show their love for me:
Send me an email with a picture or memory that is meaningful to us both.
An email with specific feedback on my newsletter: what resonates (laugh, cry, or otherwise) and what would you like to hear more about?
Share my newsletter with someone else that might enjoy it. Writing this newsletter is a joy; my desire is that it leads to more meaningful connections.
Let's share a meal, run, or walk together where we're both 100% present.
I really love Medieval Times, even as I constantly rail about it being so expensive (hint hint Tiffany)
When we allow ourselves to receive love, this is what we leave behind:
Dads, how can they show their love for you?
Thanks to Amaan, Cam, Nate, and my wife, Tiffany, for their feedback on this edition. I think I’m getting those Medieval Times tickets!
Photo of the Week:
From my family to yours, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
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