Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The best present ever

Today I went to school again... I went yesterday for an afternoon/evening of PTA stuff, but today was a little different. Today it was my son's class's turn to do a presentation in front of the whole school for 10 minutes in the morning. There are 12 children in the class (the biggest in the school!). They are all 7 or 8 years old. I had no real idea what the presentation was going to be about, but I knew it was something to do with Peace and that they had been practicing for weeks. It turned out that December 7th was the day in 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in America and World War 2 took a different turn when America declared war on Japan. I had no idea. In fact I really know nothing about the war. My generation in New Zealand seems to know that there was a war, but it hasn't really effected us personally (probably a huge over-generalization, but...).
This morning my son's class (who are usually pretty out of control) stood in front of the school and in their loudest voices told us a story of a family who died in the war. They sang a wonderful song about how we should all stand together in peace and make the world a great one. They stood in unison and asked us all to never consider war ever again. My son is continually telling me that war is bad and he knows why. I'm sure there are people who would disagree with me and say that Japan teaches the history of the war etc. in a biased way, but from all the presentations I have seen this is not the case. The teachers at our school do not point fingers. They talk about the lead up to the war and the things which Japan did to escalate it. They talk more about how we can prevent it in the future than anything else. However the children are the ones who really get the point across. Their presentation this morning should have been shown worldwide and perhaps a few more people might listen.
The presentation also got me thinking a bit more about Christmas. Every year I feel obliged to get presents under the tree for my family etc. Living far away from them I have no idea what they want or need so most things are pretty random. I'm not saying that my gifts aren't appreciated, but I do often feel like it is an obligation rather than a heart-felt gift. Having spent the last few days trying to literally clean out our house (I think I've taken out 6 big bags of rubbish already) I have been conscious of how worthless a lot of the junk we accumulate is and how precious the things are that have really been given from the heart.
One of the teachers commented after the presentation today that the biggest gift the children can give us is the gift of peace. I totally agree and I think the biggest gift that adults can give children is the capacity to bring peace to their own little piece of the world. So.... this morning I made a decision. I'm not going to send any Christmas presents to New Zealand this year. Sorry! Instead I am going to send gifts at a time when I think they are necessary and important. Please feel free to do the same! And in the meantime I am going to give my family the gift of raising my children, their great-grandchildren, grandchildren, niece and nephew in a way in which they can hopefully bring as much happiness and peace to my family's lives as possible in the future.
I realize this is all a bit deep for a Wednesday morning - don't worry, I'll be back with the normal chicken news in the very near future!


  1. Sooo, you're your fathers daughter after all!!! Good on you Jo! We are doing the same, and although there are token gifts coming your way-our gift this year is a bank account set up here for the kids to use as and when they choose.Other family members have been invited to contribute if they wish-can't answer for them.
    deep and meaningful-yes-real and honest-absolutely.PEACE-totally.
    Love Dawnxx

  2. Well done Masaki and class. Did you video it?
    We have so much shit accumulated in this house. My kids demand things and if they get them lose interest in two seconds and demand something else. I want an op-shop where I can off-load all the stuff they no longer use and I want the strength to not give in so often. A part from on the airplane where I think given your kids anything they ask for is in favor of peace :) Traveling with just Ryu next week will be a delight - almost.
    Talk soon.

  3. What a wise son you have. I agree, war is definitely bad. : (