A generational Christmas story

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    Dec 03, 2011 4:07 PM GMT
    A story I've told here before, but I like to relate it again around Christmas.

    In the 1990s my youngest son had turned 5 a few weeks before Christmas. And he was misbehaving in some minor way, actually a wonderful child who gave no trouble at all, the perfect kid.

    The Christmas stockings were already hung on the fireplace mantle, and I decided to try an old-fashioned stern approach with him, which I never did.

    "Now listen, young man! If you don't behave you're gonna get coal in your stocking!" And I pointed at his labeled stocking hanging there to make the point. But my atypical sternness was almost parody, and I think he was already laughing at my lame attempt.

    In response he gave me this puzzled expression. And I guessed, that as a modern child in the US, he really didn't understand what coal is. A question to him confirmed this.

    "Well," I began to lecture in my most pedantic manner, "Coal is like small dirty black rocks, and you burn them for heat. And that's what you'll find in your stocking instead of toys, if you don't shape up!" Shades of my own father scolding me over 40 years earlier.

    He smiled at me, and happily exclaimed: "We can have a barbecue!"

    I totally lost it, and fell apart laughing. How can you discipline such a child? And who hardly needed "discipline" in the first place, just gentle guidance & direction, which is all he ever knew from me.

    I seem to live on a conveyor belt that moves me along in life, whether I like it or not, aging me as I go. And my surroundings, my perspective, my understanding, my attitude, are always changing. I am as astonished by the wit & wisdom of children as I am by the latest scientific advancements I read about online.

    I don't want to get left behind, but sometimes it's too fast for me. And I read the younger guys here, and hardly understand the vocabulary, the slang, the expressions, the fundamental point of view. I try to share what I think are universal & timeless values, but I get kinda trampled by the trendy right-now.

    And so when I encounter that generational disconnect (we called it the "Generation Gap" in the 1960s, when my own rebellious generation was riding the crest of the wave), I think of that silly Christmas moment with my son, and with others we had.
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    Dec 03, 2011 7:36 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidA story I've told here before, but I like to relate it again around Christmas.
    ...
    And so when I encounter that generational disconnect (we called it the "Generation Gap" in the 1960s, when my own rebellious generation was riding the crest of the wave), I think of that silly Christmas moment with my son, and with others we had.



    you are awesome, i love hearing stories about small moments like this that you can never forget.

    thank you
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    Dec 03, 2011 7:43 PM GMT
    Good story icon_lol.gif