Does anybody wrap gifts any more? With the advent of gift bags, we’re tempted to just take the easy way out. Like me, maybe you recycle gift bags from Christmases past? All you need do is buy packs of tissue paper to stuff in the tops of the ornamental bags.
However, some boxes are just too big for gift bags and must be wrapped. Later this morning, I’m going to wrap a big box for my friend, J.G., because as she says, “I don’t wrap.”
Well, while I do wrap, I don’t rap, nor do I even listen to rap. Do you have an aversion to those ill-rhyming lyrics set to heavy bass beats like I do? Rap noise (because you can’t call it music) is way more offensive than the music and lyrics my parents complained about that I listened to back in the sixties and seventies.
And like me, do you also believe that music feeds your soul, whether good or bad? It’s been a year of major trials in the life of my youngest of five children. With the advent of gift bags also came the smart phones, more specifically the I-phone with it’s instant gratification of I-tunes, allowing kids to fill their phones with music of their choice.
I’ll admit. I didn’t monitor that as I should have. When I was a teen, I listened to albums in my room, and my folks knew what I was listening to quite easily. Think about it–we had to actually go to a store and BUY the album. Then we had to be fortunate enough to have a record player or stereo. Not so with cell phones and ear buds. Teens today can download whatever they want to their cell phones, and unless we parents are willing to take a listen through those ear buds, then we have no clue.
I’m one of those parents who has not been consistently inclined to tune in, although I have been consistent in dogging the genre of rap repeatedly to my youngest. For the most part, there is nothing edifying in those lyrics. Nothing. Mostly they reflect a lifestyle with which my son has no first-hand experience. No matter, because those words have pumped poison into his mind and soul through his ears, and I have (lazily) allowed it. Although I didn’t give him the I-phone, (nor do I pay the bill), I’m guilty of allowing his oldest brother to indulge him.
It is beyond me why kids who are growing up in middle-class America with every advantage possible would be drawn to lyrics about life in the streets, popping a cap, and taking two in the back? I really just don’t get it.
While I’m not looking for real answers to that hard question, the question I must answer for myself is when am I going to wise up and crack down? While knowing what needs to be done, and before getting the chance to fully implement, it appears the problem just might have resolved on its own.
About three weeks ago, while in detention with the baseball coach, my youngest son’s I-phone was stolen from his backpack and has never been recovered. Hence, he’s been I-tunes and ear bud free, his soul not being fed a steady diet of disgusting lyrics. We talk more. He’s blowing his duck calls again. He’s forced to engage real life for a change. It’s refreshing.
What’s really strange about this ordeal is that he’s not asked his brother for a replacement, nor has he asked him to buy a new Sim card and re-activate his old cell phone. To me, it’s a Christmas miracle–I’ve gotten my son back and another chance to tune in and fine tune.
Meanwhile, the best Christmas gift I received back in December of 1992, turned 20 and reminds me that the simple pleasures in life are often the best. I’m talking about our exceptional son–the one who was blessed with Down Syndrome.
Although he’s not smitten with rap, he does love watching funny You Tube videos on his computer, or memorizing dance videos like Beyonce` and Michael Jackson`, but most recently he’s taken with watching professional wrestling–something I’ve always detested. Thinking it might be short-lived, and as long as he wasn’t taking down his classmates and putting them in choke holds, I’ve allowed it.
While he’s not putting the wrestling moves on his peers, he did surprise (and impress) us when he named EVERY PERSON in this WWE poster his sister gave him at his bowling birthday party last Friday night. Oh well, it could be worse–he could be memorizing rap lyrics.
Whether you wrap your gifts this holiday season or put them in a bag, just know that life doesn’t always come in nice, neat packages tied with pretty ribbon and festive bows. Know that some of life’s best gifts come in some of the most unlikely packages. And that every trial could become a gift if you hang in there long enough to reap the reward on the other side of determination.
I’m determined in 2013 to tune in more to what my sons are listening to and watching than worrying about how many folks have LIKED the Bayou Woman page on Facebook, as though those LIKES equal dollars in the bank. I am determined to lean more on the Giver of all Gifts for the wisdom to know how to best care for the Gifts I’ve been given–to know which ones are worth keeping, which ones can be re-gifted, and which ones are not even worthy of the scrap pile.
Blessings to you and yours this holiday season,