Saturday, January 15, 2011
Las Posadas and a world full of child molesters?
The more important Holiday of the season in Mexico is the Day of the Three Kings. Not to say that Christmas is not important, it is the Day of the Three Kings where the tradition of gifts comes from.
My family use to celebrate it because of the Russian Calendar and it was another excuse at having family and friends over for dinner, you know the rest.....
During the week of the 3 Kings I was reflecting of how the Holidays around Christmas have changed. From when I was about 10, the excitement of seeing the tree, the packages under the tree and the family during the season, then when I was about 20, then 40 and to nowadays.
I was also thinking of what makes the Christmas time special for me, not just meeting with friends and stuff, but for sharing and giving and more importantly that of thinking of exactly why we celebrate Christmas.......it's not just for Hot Buttered Rums and Eggnog......but you already know that.
The change I was thinking about made me feel a little sad simply because the change seems to have stifled the ability to share, just because it is not Politically Correct. So the real question is have these changes were they done for the betterment of society, as I see it, I don't believe so, but I am sure there will be people out there that will take task to that, so go ahead and give me your best shot argument.
During my years in business I was involved in many clubs, one of which that was instrumental in my life was my association with Rotary International.
You may only know of Rotary because they have a sign as you enter your town or perhaps you know a Rotarian or maybe even participated in one of their youth student exchange programs.
Anyway, Rotary has clubs in over 200 counties have there are more than 33,000 clubs in the world. The main reason I joined Rotary because I wanted to be part of the community and this was a great way to give back to the community. This is why there are so many service clubs in the world. In addition to Rotary, there are clubs like Kiwanis, Lyons, Toastmasters, 20-30 clubs, Elks and many others. These clubs are a good way to meet people and to be able to volunteer to do projects which benefit both the community locally and through out the world.
When I got into Rotary in the late 70's one of the annual events my club did was have an annual Christmas Dinner.
The program was this. We would ask some local teachers from several schools to provide the names and phone numbers of families who for one reason or another could use some assistance in providing positive Christmas experience for their kids. Many of these families were from single Mom households who just simply could not afford to do much for their children. Lots of times this event would be the only thing the kids would have for the season.
The members of the club would then contact the parents, explain that we were a community service club and that we would like to invite their kids to a Christmas dinner, hosted by our Rotary Club. The evening consisted of picking them up, usually several kids from a neighborhood, return to the hotel where we had the dinners all set up, have dinner, whereas Santa come and hand out gifts and stuff. We would then chauffeur the kids back home by 8:45 or so.
What could be more in the spirit of Christmas and sharing....
This happened for many years until one year, the club was confronted with a situation that would change the event. Seems the club could no longer get insurance for having the kids in various cars and could no longer cover the liability of the event.
Then someone said that we shouldn't be hanging around kids anyway. We might be accused of some improper conduct with the kids. It was about that time when there seemed to be a lot of publicity about problems and accusations with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organizations.
The someone else brought up what if somehow somewhere someone would convince their kids to falsely accused someone of improper conduct in order to get some money out of it. All we would need in this small town was to have a some kid say "He did it!" and we would all be ruined.....forever. When I was growing up, we didn't seem to have those kind of issues, at least not like we hear about now. There was always a neighborhood child molester that all the kids new about and stayed away from. Now there seems to be either a lot more of them or we just hear about them. There are lots of kids that have not grown up with "street smarts" and are fodder for sick people who have these kind of issues....but that is another topic .....
Our club certainly didn't want to even think about any thing like that. It didn't matter that the spouses of the members were there too, it was just bad PR, and we couldn't get sucked into any controversy.
That is when the world changed.....
So what could a bunch Rotarian's do now to make the Christmas Season special for these kids?
Mind you that this was still way before the PC police were trying to change Christmas by turning it into "The Holiday Season", so us Rotarian's still had lots of Christmas do-good in our blood.
Why not provide needy kids with shoes? Someone said.
We asked the teachers and they told us that about 25 % or more of the kids didn't have the proper shoes because they were either hand me downs or the families simply couldn't afford decent shoes.
That was are AH Ha, moment.
One of our members was in the shoe business, so he got excited about this program. The idea was to simply provide certificates to needy families which they could go to his store, get fitted for shoes and get them for free.
After all, we could get them "Wholesale" and that way our money would go a longer way, and everyone would be happy.....
Except a few people that said that giving free shoes would be demeaning to some families......
Mind you , none of the families we had given shoes to in the past, judging from the thank you letters, had any issues of being demeaned.
So......that program was stopped.
So now it's demeaning to be generous to people that may need assistance.......gotta love Political Correctness.....
So now I can't celebrate Christmas, unless I have a great Holiday Season.
So now the loud outspoken people and groups seem to have won......except in Mexico we still celebrate Christmas and the Day of the Three Kings.
I still enjoy doing something for kids during the Christmas Season, so what I have gone to doing is my little way of possibly helping out kids around the area. So, instead of giving toys to the kids, I go to Costco and buy up some jackets in various sizes and hand them to one of the Nuns at the school in the small town down the road from our house.
I don't get involved, I don't get blamed, I don't get ridiculed, but I feel good that a few kids will get a jacket that they need. They will get something on the Day of the Three Kings........
The Nuns seem to like it, I hope the kids like it, and I don't have to wrap anything.
I think they are also more appreciative then the kids NOB. I also remember one of the downside of those evening dinners . There would always be a few kids who would look at their toys that they had just received and argue with Santa that they wanted something else......like the thing that the person in front of them received...........
Hard to make everyone happy isn't it?
I hope you had a great Day of the Three Kings.....I know I did.